01/22/2014

Psoriatic Arthritis

 

Arthritis describes any condition where cartilage in the joint breaks down. Normally, a joint consists of two smooth, cartilage-covered bone surfaces that fit together as a matched set and glide against one other. Arthritis can result when these smooth surfaces become irregular as the cartilage breaks down. This results in surfaces that don’t fit well together anymore, essentially “wearing out.

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition in which the lining of the joint gets inflamed and swollen.  Because this inflammation stretches the tissues that keep the joint strong, the joint may become loose or crooked.  Also, the smooth ends of the bones wear out, and the bone may lose its normal shape.  Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the body, and it affects men and women equally.

Psoriasis is a skin condition where people's skin becomes dry, red, and flaky (Figure 1).  It can affect any part of the body. Up to 30% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. 

Arthritis can be debilitating when it affects the hands and fingers.  The most common forms of arthritis in the hand are osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis (after an injury), and rheumatoid arthritis. Other causes of arthritis of the hand are infection, gout, and psoriasis.