Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that occurs in people with psoriasis. It is estimated that between 7 and 42 percent of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. There are five types of psoriatic arthritis, each with its own unique symptoms. 

Knowing the different types can help you get an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Here we will discuss the five types of psoriatic arthritis and their respective symptoms.

1. Asymmetric Arthritis

This form of psoriatic arthritis is the most common, affecting around 80% of people with the condition. It usually only affects one side or one limb of the body at a time, and symptoms tend to be milder than other types. However, it can still lead to significant joint damage if left untreated. 

Symptoms of asymmetric arthritis include: 

  1. Joint pain and stiffness on one side or one limb of the body 
  2. Inflammation in small joints, such as those in the hands and feet 
  3. Tenderness and swelling in tendons and ligaments around affected joints 
  4. Fatigue 
  5. Reduced range of motion in affected joints 

2. Symmetric Arthritis

Symmetric arthritis affects the same joints on both sides of the body. The majority of times, several pairs of joints are affected, such as the right and left knees or the right and left elbows.

This type of psoriatic arthritis resembles rheumatoid arthritis but is generally milder.

Symptoms: 

  • Pain and stiffness in your wrists, knees, ankles, or elbows 
  • Morning stiffness that eases after you move around for a while 
  • Fatigue 
  • Swelling in some joints 

If you have symmetric arthritis, you may also have dactylitis. This is when your fingers or toes swell up like sausages. It can be painful and makes it hard to use the affected joint. Dactylitis often affects children more than adults.

3. Spondylitis

Spondylitis is a form of psoriatic arthritis that mainly affects the spine and the joints between the spine and pelvis. This can lead to stiffness and pain in the lower back and buttocks. In some cases, spondylitis can also cause stiffness in the neck. 

Symptoms include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the lower back and buttocks
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Inflammation of the spine
  • Reduced range of motion in the spine
  • Fatigue
  • Fever 

Spondylitis is a progressive disease, which means that it gets worse over time. See a doctor if you think you have spondylitis, as early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent further damage to the joints.

4. Arthritis Mutilans

This is the most severe form of psoriatic arthritis and can permanently damage the bones and joints. Arthritis mutilans typically affect only a small percentage of people with psoriatic arthritis (about five percent) but can be very debilitating.

Symptoms of arthritis mutilans include:

  • Progressive destruction of bone and cartilage
  • Joint deformities
  • Severe pain and disability
  • Loss of function in affected joints

Treatment for arthritis mutilans focuses on slowing the progression of the disease and managing pain. There is no known cure for this form of psoriatic arthritis. 

5. Distal interphalangeal (DIP) predominant

This type of psoriatic arthritis is the most common, affecting around 80% of people with psoriatic arthritis. It causes pain and swelling in the joints at the ends of the fingers or toes (the distal interphalangeal joints), known as DIP joints. The symptoms are usually milder than other types of psoriatic arthritis.

DIP joint involvement is characterized by:

  • Joints that are swollen, red and painful, particularly when you move them
  • Stiffness in the morning that improves with movement during the day
  • Nails that are thickened, pitted, or crumbly
  • Joints on both sides of your body are affected equally (symmetrical)

Conclusion

Each type of Psoriatic Arthritis is different and can be diagnosed by a medical professional. If you think you may have this condition, it is vital to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing the symptoms of this condition.

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