Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disorder as well as a hybrid of two separate conditions – arthritis and the skin disease, psoriasis. Arthritis is painful inflammation, swelling, and stiffening of joints. Psoriasis is characterized by red, scaly, inflamed patches on the skin and sometimes even fingernails and eyes. About 6% of all children living with juvenile arthritis also have psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriatic Arthritis Causes & Symptoms
Children whose families have a genetic connection to either arthritis or psoriasis are more prone to suffer from psoriatic arthritis. Otherwise, the cause of many pediatric cases often remains unknown.
Symptom type and severity vary for each child, but the following are some common signs and symptoms that may indicate psoriatic arthritis:
- Swelling or deformity of joints
- Reduced range of motion, stiffness, and limited flexibility
- Red, scaly, peeling, skin or rashes on or around the joints
- Pitting or peeling of skin around nails and cuticles
- Painful inflammation of the eyes
A pediatric rheumatologist often will diagnose psoriatic arthritis in children. Evaluations that can help lead to a diagnosis are:
- Blood tests to check for certain proteins and antibodies characteristic of arthritis and psoriasis
- X-rays to examine joints and any irregularities
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess inflammation throughout the body
Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment in Austin & Cedar Park, TX
There are a variety of medications available to treat inflammation and the painful symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Some can help regulate the immune system and slow progression of the disease while prescription creams and ointments are often used also to soothe irritated skin.
In addition, basic treatments such as hot and cold therapies, regular exercise, and physical therapy can improve joint function and flexibility and may prove highly beneficial.