What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

What parts of the body does psoriatic arthritis affect?

Psoriatic arthritis tends to affect the distal joints (those closest to the nails) in the fingers and toes, although it can also affect the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, neck, and lower back

There are five types of psoriatic arthritis, which are defined by which joints are affected, and how many. They include:

  • Asymmetric oligoarticular psoriatic arthritis affects a joint on one side of the body but not always the counterpart on the other side. This form of psoriatic arthritis usually affects fewer than five joints. It is sometimes referred to as asymmetric psoriatic arthritis.
  • Symmetric polyarthritis is the most common type of psoriatic arthritis, and affects the same joint on both sides of the body. Usually five or more joints are affected.
  • Distal interphalangeal predominant psoriatic arthritis affects the body’s distal joints (those at the ends of the fingers or toes). Because these joints are close to the nails, symptoms can also include nail problems.
  • Spondylitis affects the spine, as well as the joints in the lower back, neck, and sacroiliac joints (those between the sacrum and pelvis). In some people with spondylitis, joints in the legs, arms, feet, and hands are also affected.

Arthritis mutilans can seriously damage the hand and foot joints. It is the most severe—and rare—form of psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic arthritis pictures

Although psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in your body, it’s often in the fingers and toes, the ankles, knees, wrists, lower back, or spine. In some people, psoriatic arthritis may involve just one or two joints, while other people may have five or more joints affected. In the fingers and toes, it’s often the joints nearest to the nails (distal joints) that are impacted. Fingers and toes can also swell up to look resemble sausages.

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