Most people are probably familiar with the skin disease psoriasis, which causes plaques, or layers of built-up skin cells, to form on the skin. These plaques can itch, flake and bleed. Inflammation and redness are usually present, and the disease is also unsightly. It’s not contagious, but sufferers of this incurable condition often feel a social stigma, especially if the psoriasis is on the face or hands and cannot be easily concealed.
Psoriasis Can Involve More Than Just the Skin
What many people may not know is that psoriasis can also attack the joints. When it does, it’s called psoriatic arthritis and it causes stiffness and pain in the joints, most often in the lower body, especially the knees, ankles and feet. It can attack any joint, though, including those in the fingers. Fingers will swell, look similar to a sausage and the fingernails may have pits, ridges, dents or white marks. These are hallmark symptoms and a definite indication that psoriatic arthritis is causing the patient’s pain and loss of movement. According to medicinenet.com, up to 80% of people with psoriatic arthritis will display some kind of above fingernail abnormality. The disease can attack the spine, too, causing severe back pain and a limited range of motion.
Can it Be Treated?
Yes, to a point, but the condition cannot be cured. The exact cause remains unknown, but it tends to run in families, so there is at least some element of heredity involved. Treatment in the past has consisted mainly of drugs, such as prednisone and methotrexate that suppress the immune system, which is selectively overactive in people with this disease. More recently, biologic drugs such as adalimumab have been introduced. These are very effective for many people, but carry with them a long list of severe and even life-threatening side effects.
Other Possible Therapies
Psoriatic arthritis can cause permanent damage to the joints, so prompt and effective treatment is paramount. But for those not willing, or not able, to tolerate traditional medical drug therapies there are some natural alternatives to try. The website medicalnewstoday.com offers some natural substances that have shown promise for some people. They include tea tree oil, capsaicin, turmeric, aloe vera and others. These are all easily obtainable at health food stores and online. While not proven, they are likely not harmful either, and for those who cannot take available medical drugs for their psoriatic arthritis, at least they are some kind of alternative option. You can read more here: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316926.php.
Don’t Ignore Recurrent Joint Pain
Especially if you have psoriasis on your skin, your joint pain could very well be due to psoriatic arthritis. It’s even possible to have it with no visible skin lesions, although this is rare. Safeguard your health and see a physician for an accurate diagnosis of your joint pain without delay.