Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease and symptoms usually get worse over time. However, patients with this disease may experience periods in which symptoms are not present or improve. In most cases, skin and joint symptoms go into remission and reappear at the same time.


Most cases of psoriatic arthritis are preceded by psoriasis, although both conditions may be diagnosed at the same time. In some cases, joint pain appears before the red lesions on the skin. The red lesions are covered with dead skin cells that give the condition its scaly appearance.

Different Types of Psoriasis

Joint pain, swelling and joints warm to the touch are the most common symptoms associated with psoriatic arthritis. Depending on the type of arthritis, these symptoms may affect different parts of the body.

Asymmetrical and Symmetrical Arthritis

Asymmetrical arthritis is the mildest form of psoriatic arthritis. Patients with this condition experience pain in joints on only one side of the body, or experience pain in different joints on each side. Joints in the hip, knee, ankle and wrist are commonly affected. In most cases, less than five joints are affected. In most cases of symmetrical arthritis, five or more of the same joints on both sides of the body are affected. Psoriasis, in cases of symmetrical arthritis, tends to be more severe.

Distal Interphalangeal (DIP) Joint Predominant Psoriatic Arthritis

This type of psoriatic arthritis affects the joints closest to the nails in the fingers or toes (the distal joints). Nails may be affected by psoriasis in cases of DIP arthritis. This is a rare form of the disease and affects men more than women.


This type of psoriatic arthritis cases pain and inflammation in the spine. It may also cause stiffness and inflammation in the neck, lower back and sacroiliac joints. Movement may be difficult for patients who have this form of psoriatic arthritis.

Arthritis Mutilans

This affects only a small percentage of patients suffering from psoriatic arthritis. The small bones in the hands and fingers are destroyed over time, which may lead to deformity and disability. This can be a severe and painful form of psoriatic arthritis. Contact a physician immediately if you notice any of these signs of psoriatic arthritis. Treatment may exist that may relieve symptoms of psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis, although there is no cure for these diseases.

Have specific questions?

All Article Categories

Before & After Photos

Suggested Doctors

Recently Asked Questions