Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints. This causes the joints to become painful, stiff and often swollen. Usually only people who have a skin disease called psoriasis are affected by psoriatic arthritis. Only one or two out of every 10 people with psoriasis will develop this type of arthritis.

What are the symptoms?

Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the body and symptoms can vary from person to person. It can develop slowly with mild symptoms, or come on quickly and be severe.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Pain, swelling and stiffness in one or more joints
  • Pain and stiffness in the buttocks, lower back or neck (also known as spondylitis, meaning inflammation of the spine)
  • Pain in tendons, such as at the back of the heel or sole of the foot (tendons are the strong cords that attach muscles onto bones)
  • Changes in nails, such as thickening, colour change or separation from the skin
  • Pain and redness in the eyes.

What causes it?

The exact cause of psoriatic arthritis is not known. Genetics, the immune system and environmental factors, such as an infection, may play roles in causing this type of arthritis. This has yet to be proven in research. A certain gene called HLA-B27 is associated with psoriatic arthritis, especially inflammation of the spine. However this is a perfectly normal gene and there are many more people who have this gene and do not get psoriatic arthritis.

How can psoriatic arthritis be treated?

Currently there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis. However treatment for psoriatic arthritis has improved dramatically, with new medicines that are extremely helpful in controlling the condition. Your rheumatologist will tailor your treatment to your symptoms and how severe your condition is. There is no way of predicting exactly which treatment will work best for you. Your doctor may need to trial several different treatments before finding the one that is right for you and may include medicines, such as:

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
  • biological DMARDs.


Download our free information sheet - Psoratic Arthritis


More information and support for psoriatic arthritis


Order your free booklet Taking control of your Psoriatic Arthritis or download some handy info sheets. 


Register for Arthritis Assist to speak one-on-one with someone else living with arthritis. 


Join one of our online support groups to connect with other Australians living with arthritis. 


Call our free infoline on 1800 011 041 to speak with a member of our health team.

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