11 Signs You Might Have Psoriatic Arthritis

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Psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory form of arthritis that attacks joints all over the body, is the perfect storm of degenerative diseases. It’s difficult to diagnose and it wreaks havoc in a short amount of time; one study found that a diagnostic delay of only six months led to joint erosion and worse long-term physical function. Here are 11 signs you should talk to your doctor about psoriatic arthritis.

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You’ve been diagnosed with psoriasis

Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis will go on to develop psoriatic arthritis, and 15 percent of people with psoriasis have undiagnosed psoriatic arthritis. Make sure you speak with your dermatologist about any aches and pains in your joints or ask for a rheumatologist referral.

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You have a family history of psoriatic disease

There’s still some debate on whether the inflammation-promoting mutation that causes psoriatic arthritis is inherited or environmental, but the association is clear: 40 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis have a family member with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.

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You don’t have psoriasis, but you’re symptomatic

Not everyone who has psoriatic arthritis also has psoriasis; psoriatic arthritis precedes psoriasis in about 15 percent of people.

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You have morning stiffness

If you wake up feeling achy in your hands, feet, knees, or ankles — even if it’s just for 15 minutes — you should talk to your doctor about psoriatic arthritis.

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Your fingers or toes are swollen

“Sausage digits,” a.k.a. dactylitis, is a common symptom of psoriatic arthritis in which an entire digit in the hands or feet is swollen and difficult to move.

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The first joints in your fingers or toes feel sore

In about 15 percent of cases, psoriatic arthritis affects the interphalangeal joints, or the first joints on your fingers or toes after your nailbeds. Those small joints are often spared by rheumatoid arthritis (RA), another inflammatory disease that’s similar in presentation to psoriatic arthritis, so tell your doctor if you’re experiencing joint pain or swelling in your small joints.

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The joint pain is asymmetrical

In about 15 percent of cases, psoriatic arthritis affects the interphalangeal joints, or the first joints on your fingers or toes after your nailbeds. Those small joints are often spared by rheumatoid arthritis (RA), another inflammatory disease that’s similar in presentation to psoriatic arthritis, so tell your doctor if you’re experiencing joint pain or swelling in your small joints.

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You have foot pain

In addition to stiffness and joint pain in your toes, psoriatic arthritis can sometimes manifest in pain in the sole of your foot or in your heel. Here are 11 ways to keep your feet comfortable if you’re showing signs of psoriatic arthritis.

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You have pain in larger joints

Psoriatic arthritis doesn’t just occur in the small joints. Some people see the first signs of it in their shoulders, backs, or knees. If you’re experiencing pain and stiffness in your spine or lower back, you might have Psoriatic-arthritis-induced back pain, called spondylitis.

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Your nails are pitted

Nail pitting is another common, early symptom of psoriatic arthritis. Oftentimes, pitting looks like tiny depressions in a nail — like if you took a sewing needle and tapped Morse Code-style all over your nailbed. You might also experience some discoloration or change in nail shape.

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You’re more tired than usual

Fatigue is closely associated with psoriatic arthritis. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms and you’re more tired than usual, talk to your doctor about diagnostic testing for psoriatic arthritis.