Psoriasis is a common skin condition, (coming in second after acne) in which the affected areas are covered with a thick, red lesion with white flaky patches called scales. Psoriasis can affect any area of the body but is usually found on the elbows, knees and other places along the leg.
I’m telling you about psoriasis so I can get to the real topic at hand: psoriatic arthritis. Not surprisingly, it is a form of arthritis that affects people who have psoriasis. Most people notice the psoriasis first and then the arthritis, but it is possible to have the arthritis first.
The most obvious sign of psoriatic arthritis is the swelling. Swelling in the fingers (sometimes called sausage fingers), the hands and feet… it makes it difficult to do day to day things. In the shower the other day, I couldn’t wring out my hair or get my fingers around a pen to write my name.
So what causes it? Unfortunately, the cause of the disease is currently unknown. Heredity is thought to play a role in it as well as certain genetic markers that are more common in patients with psoriatic arthritis.
There are some things you can do that can help you deal with the pain of the arthritis. From home, you can try things like taking a hot bath or using a cold compress, whichever feels better. Try getting lots of good rest. An exercise routine can be helpful too, not only with keeping flexible but with keeping your heart healthy, getting better sleep and for general good health. Try using non-steroid drugs such as Ibuprofen, Motrin or Advil to help with the morning stiffness that is so common with psoriatic arthritis.
If these are not enough, you may need to seek medical treatment. There are a number of drugs on the market that can help. The one that I’ve had luck with is Methotrexate. It comes in pill or injection forms. I take the injections, once a week in the knee (well, actually, just above the knee) and by the next day the swelling has reduced significantly. I’m sure there are other drugs, but I can only comment on what I’ve personally tried.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t let psoriatic arthritis keep you down anymore!