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Health Library

Psoriatic Arthritis

What Is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis that causes pain and swelling in joints. The inflammation can cause lasting damage and may lead to pain and possible restriction in motion. Psoriatic arthritis is related to the chronic skin condition psoriasis, which causes patches of red, irritated, flaking skin.

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include pain, stiffness, and swelling of joints, often in the knees, ankles, fingers, and toes. Some people with psoriatic arthritis also have neck and/or back pain and stiffness. Psoriatic arthritis affects both men and women and typically develops between the ages of 20 and 50.

Common Causes

While the cause of psoriatic arthritis is not yet known, studies have indicated that the disease has a hereditary component.


A physical examination and x-rays will help to establish the diagnosis.


Medications used to treat psoriatic arthritis include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen), disease-modifying antirheumatic medications (DMARDs, such as sulfasalazine and methotrexate), and biologics (such as tumor necrosis factor inhibitors).

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