May 30, 2008

Psoriatic Arthritis – Chronic Inflammatory Condition Causes Skin Rash

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition associated with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease characterized by thick, red patches on skin on certain areas of body. The joints of knees, toes, wrists, fingers, shoulders and ankles are involved in psoriatic arthritis. This disease causes the inflammation of joints as well as scaly rash on the skin. Some environmental and genetic factors as well as immunological abnormalities are the possible causes of psoriatic arthritis.

There are five major types of psoriatic arthritis such as asymmetric arthritis, symmetric arthritis, spondylitis, distal interphalangeal predominant arthritis and arthritis mutilans. The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can be observed in various patterns. Asymmetrical oligoarticular arthritis may involve the joints of toes and fingers, while symmetrical polyarthritis can affect the joints of feet, wrists, hands and ankles. Arthritis mutilans is a long-term psoriatic arthritis in which severe damage and deformities of the joints can be found. Distal interphalangeal arthropathy involves the joints present at the ends of toes and fingers as well as nails and the skin around the edges of nails.

The warning signs of psoriatic arthritis are pain and swelling in the toes or fingers, pain and swelling over ligaments and tendons, pitting of the toenails or fingernails, morning stiffness, fatigue and limited range of motion. In many cases, psoriasis is followed by the psoriatic arthritis and involves the joints of the joints in ankles, knees and feet. There may be inflammation of joints due to which joints may be swollen, red, warm and painful. Sometimes, inflammation in the joints of toes or fingers may cause swelling of entire digit. Joint stiffness is more common early in the morning. Psoriatic arthritis may result in the spondylitis (inflammation of spine) and inflammation of sacrum which can give rise to stiffness and pain in low back, upper back, neck and buttocks.

Besides spondylitis and arthritis, psoriatic arthritis may cause the inflammation of other organs such as lungs, eyes and aorta. There may be an inflammation of tendons which is known as tendinitis. If it is behind the heel, it is called as Achilles tendinitis which can cause pain while walking and climbing stairs. Besides this, there may be an inflammation of chest wall and the cartilage that joins the ribs to sternum which can cause chest pain similar to that of costochondritis.

In addition to that, there may be iritis, an inflammation in eye’s colored portion (iris) which may worsen due to bright light. There may be involvement of lungs which can cause pleuritis, the inflammation in and around the lungs. It may result in chest pain that worsens with deep breathing. Aortitis (inflammation of aorta) may result in the leakage of aortic valves which may cause shortness of breath and heart failure.