Psoriasis is a disease of your immune system that causes it to attack perfectly healthy tissue, as if that tissue were an invader. Your skin begins to malfunction. Instead of turning over and shedding dead cells, the cells linger on the surface, creating itchy and embarrassing plaques.
Your overstressed immune system may cause other symptoms, too. One common complication is psoriatic arthritis (PA). About a third of people with psoriasis go on to develop PA.
At Specialists in Dermatology, our expert dermatologists diagnose and treat psoriasis and its complications at our offices in The Woodlands, Texas, and Houston, Texas. If you develop psoriatic arthritis, we may recommend additions or changes to your care.
Because psoriatic arthritis affects the tissues deep inside your joints, we often prescribe medications called “biologics,” which are cultures of living cells that help your body fight inflammation. Do you need to add biologics to your psoriatic care? Following are four signs that you might.
1. Your joints are stiff and painful
The classic sign of any type of arthritis is stiff, painful joints. You may feel stiffest in the morning or when you stand up after long periods of sitting.
Unlike other forms of arthritis, however, psoriatic arthritis may not affect your large joints. If you have psoriatic arthritis, your main stiffness and pain could be the small joints in your:
Psoriatic arthritis also has a tendency to develop at the intersection of bones, tendons, and ligaments. Two common areas that PA affects are your Achilles tendon in your heel and the plantar fascia on the sole of your foot.
2. Your fingers and toes are swollen
In addition to creating pain and stiffness, PA may actually make your fingers and toes swell. It’s common for digits affected by PA to resemble sausages. Your fingers and toes may also be deformed or difficult to move.
3. Your nails look strange
A classic symptom of PA is a change in the appearance and texture of the nails on your toes or fingers. Your nails may look extra thick. They could also be pitted. In severe cases, they crumble or separate from the nail bed.
4. Your back hurts
If you have PA, you may notice pain and stiffness in your lower back. The arthritis causes a condition called spondylitis, which inflames the joints between your vertebrae and also in the joints that attach your spine and pelvis.
5. Your eyes are inflamed
Unchecked, PA leads to inflammation in your eyes, a condition known as uveitis. Over time, uveitis may cause pain, blurry vision, and redness. Without treatment, uveitis could lead to blindness.
In addition to biologics, we may recommend lifestyle changes and vitamin supplements to help control inflammation and increase your mobility with PA. Biologics may replace, or be in addition to, the medications and therapies you currently use to manage your skin psoriasis.
Get ahead of psoriasis and PA by contacting our skin experts today at the Specialists in Dermatology location nearest you. You can also use our convenient online contact form.