Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that typically affects people who have psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic dermal condition that causes the skin to become covered by dry, itchy, red patches covered with silvery scales. It can affect any part of the body but is more common on the scalp, ears, genitalia, and body parts with prominent bony structures—such as the elbow.
For many people, the dermal condition develops before psoriatic arthritis begins, but it is possible to notice symptoms in the joints before dermal changes occur. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any part of the body, including the spine and fingertips .
The main symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. While these symptoms resemble those of other types of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis is often distinguished by its attendant skin change.
With psoriatic arthritis, you may notice deformities and swelling in your hands and feet before significant symptoms appear in the joints. The pain may also be especially significant in the tendons of the feet or at the lower back. At the lower back, it can cause a condition known as spondylitis.