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Psoriatic arthritis

What is PsA

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory disease. It causes inflammation, swelling, and pain in the joints, as well as swollen fingers and toes, splitting fingernails and toenails that often peel away from the nail bed, eye pain and redness, and pain in the back of the heel.

Typically, PsA affects people who already have psoriasis, a condition marked by reddish scaly skin lesions. And while patients are usually diagnosed with psoriasis first, joint problems can appear before skin symptoms do.

The exact cause of PsA is unknown. However, both genetic and environmental factors, as well as the body's own immune system, seem to be associated with its development.

Living with PsA

PsA can make it difficult to perform many everyday activities like showering, getting dressed, doing chores, getting in and out of a car, and running simple errands.

The impact and degree of difficulty vary from person to person. Fortunately, with medical treatment and regular physical activity, the degree and severity of symptoms caused by PsA can be managed.

PsA symptoms can suddenly flare and then go into remission for extended periods or can remain active for many years at a time. If left untreated, PsA can lead to persistent inflammation, progressive joint damage, pain, disability, and further restrictions to everyday activities.

How PsA progresses

The progression of PsA varies from person to person, but for most people it can worsen over time if it isn't managed properly. Unfortunately, once joint damage has occurred, it cannot be reversed, even if PsA becomes inactive.


Caroline, living with psoriatic arthritis