Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is joint pain and swelling usually in conjunction with psoriasis of the skin. Up to 40% of psoriasis patients will have psoriatic arthritis of some severity.Damage to joints may be permanent, disfiguring and limit function. Psoriatic arthritis needs to be assessed and treated early.

  • May affect arm and leg joints in an asymmetric pattern, or involve the spine, shoulders and hips
  • Patients who have a family history of psoriatic arthritis are more likely to develop arthritis
  • More commonly seen in males


Psoriatic arthritis presents as pain and swelling of joints accompanied by morning stiffness.  Depending on severity of the arthritis, daily activities may be limited.  The most severe and disabling form of this is known as arthritis multilane.

Some patients develop swelling of their fingers and toes in a fashion that makes them look like “sausage” digits. Small joints at the ends of fingers are often involved.

Others may develop pain and swelling in the areas where tendons and ligaments attach to bone – this is known as enthesitis.

The spine and hips may also be affected.

Most people with psoriatic arthritis will have or get psoriasis of the skin.  In 70%, it begins after the skin manifestations.

The severity of both conditions may not correlate.


This is the primary treatment for psoriatic arthritis.  The most commonly used agents are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, methotrexate, cyclosporine, leflunomide, sulfasalazine and gold salts.  These are generally prescribed by a specialist and may need monitoring and regular blood tests.

Biologic injections

This form of treatment is reserved for patients who have severe psoriatic arthritis and have failed most other treatments.  At the Psoriasis Institute, rheumatologists with a special interest in biologic therapies will assess and treat you if you qualify for these drugs.


Psoriasis is a multi-system disorder, affecting skin, joints and even the heart. Patients with psoriasis have higher levels of inflammation in their body, including inflammation of the arteries. This in turn can increase your risk factors for heart disease.

We recommend a cardiac assessment of psoriasis patients based upon these risk factors.

The Psoriasis Institute has specialist nurse practitioners who will review you for psoriatic arthritis and organise initial tests and treatment.  Subsequently, if required, you will be reviewed by a specialist rheumatologist who can organise and prescribe a long-term treatment plan to minimise any permanent joint damage.

Our team also comprises of dermatologists, cardiologists and dieticians to manage every aspect of psoriasis.


  • The Psoriasis Institute is a great idea- finally a one-stop center to help the many patients with this condition. My psoriasis is much easier to manage now. Thank you…
    - Grant S. Logan