By Gary M. White, MD

Psoriatic arthritis/arthropathy

Psoriatic arthritis/arthropathy (PA) is a seronegative spondyloarthropathy that is characterized by stiffness, pain, swelling, and tenderness of the joints and surrounding ligaments and tendons.

See also psoriasis.


Clinical subtypes include 1) Asymmetrical oligoarticular arthritis. This is the most common. PIP, DIP, knee and hip joints are commonly involved. Sausage fingers may develop 2) Distal interphalangeal arthritis. Preferential involvement of the DIP joints occurs. Nail dystrophy is common. 3) Mutilating psoriatic arthritis. Osteolysis results in severe mutilation of the hands with telescoping of the fingers. 4) Symmetrical polyarthrtitis. The pattern is reminiscent of rheumatoid arthritis. 5) Spinal form of psoriatic arthritis. Spinal involvement predominates. Ileosacral and cervical involvement also may be seen. 6) Pustulosis palmoplantaris with osteoarthritis sternoclavicularis. Including the SAPHO syndrome of synovitis, acne, pustulosis, hyperostosis and osteomyelitis. 7) POPP--psoriatic-onycho-pachydermo-periostitis (see below). The joints of the hands and fingers are most frequently involved often with nail damage. The disease may be mutilating with great loss of function[1]. PA may preferentially have its onset postpartum or perimenopausal. A patient with PA and psoriasis has been reported to have both flare at midcycle and during menstruation.


Referral to a rheumatologist is in order. Briefly, aspirin and NSAID's are helpful for mild disease. The anti-TNF-α agents are very effective for the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Secukinumab is FDA-approved for psoriasis, PA and ankylosing spondylitis.

Etanercept, adalimumab, and infliximab show benefit for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and golimumab and certolizumab for psoriatic arthritis. UVB and retinoids do little for psoriatic arthritis. Methotrexate helps, but appears less effective than adalimumab and infliximab.

Additional Pictures

Psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis.
Psoriatic arthritis/arthropathy Psoriatic arthritis/arthropathy

Telescoping of digits. Note, patient wearing artificial nails.
Psoriatic arthritis/arthropathy

Nail changes.
Nail changes in psoriatic arthritis/arthropathy


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