What Are the Early Warning Signs of Psoriatic Arthritis?

It can be embarrassing, painful, and pave the way for serious joint damage. The silvery, scaly patches that are the trademark sign of psoriasis could indicate that another disease—psoriatic arthritis (PsA)—is present.

So if these patches are accompanied by stiffness and soreness, especially in the morning, you could have PsA.

If left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can lead to more serious complications, including eye inflammation, inflammatory bowel disorders and even cardiac complications, according to information from the Arthritis Foundation.

So what are the early warning signs of psoriatic arthritis? Knowing and understanding what they are can help you safeguard your health.

“By knowing the early warning signs, you can get started on effective treatment, as soon as possible, before severe joint damage begins. We want to shed light on these signs so you can get the timely medical advice you need from our internal medicine specialists in Cary. Remember, we’re always available and will take time to answer all your questions. Our goal is to enable you to live the healthiest life possible.”

What Are the Early Warning Signs of Psoriatic Arthritis? 8 Items to Watch For

1. Joint Stiffness and Pain

If the morning brings pain and stiffness–especially if you’ve been inactive for a while, this could be an early warning sign of psoriatic arthritis. It’s not limited to just one joint–it can affect joints in the feet, knees, ankles and hands.

2. Swollen Fingers and Toes

The medical term for this is dactylitis.  It causes your fingers and toes to look like sausages, and it’s often a painful condition.

3. Changes in Your Nails

Your nails may appear pitted–meaning there are small depressions in the nail. In addition the nails may:

  • Become thick
  • Become discolored
  • Separate from the nailbed

4. Back Pain

What are the early warning signs of psoriatic arthritis? Lower back pain can be a clear indicator. Inflammation in the lower spinal joints leads to persistent pain and discomfort, particularly in the morning.

5. Tenderness at Tendon Insertion Points

What do we mean by “tendon insertion points?” We mean any place where the tendons and ligaments attach to bones. This includes areas like the Achilles tendons.

6. Fatigue

This is an often overlooked symptom. After all, who isn’t fatigued these days? Juggling hectic schedules, along with work, family and social responsibilities all lead to exhaustion. However, chronic inflammation associated with psoriatic arthritis can also lead to general fatigue, so if you’re constantly tired, it’s always a good idea to schedule an appointment with our leading, board-certified internal medicine physicians in Cary.

General fatigue can be related to many issues, so it’s best to consult with your provider to determine what this symptom may mean.

7. Psoriasis Skin Issues

We’ve mentioned this briefly before; Those with psoriatic arthritis often have psoriasis, a skin condition known for patches of thick, silvery-white scales.

8. Eye Inflammation

This warning sign can quickly become serious if not treated in a timely manner. Eye inflammation can cause redness, pain, dry eyes and blurry vision.

Where Does Psoriatic Arthritis Usually Start?

In most cases, the disease will typically affect the skin first, and then the joints, causing pain and stiffness. In fact, some may have psoriasis for years before it transitions into psoriatic arthritis.

What’s the First Red Flag of Psoriatic Arthritis?

What are the early warning signs of psoriatic arthritis? Many people get psoriasis, the skin disease first. However, joint pain, swelling and stiffness—particularly in the morning–are often the first hallmark signs of the disease.

Does Psoriatic Arthritis Show Up in Blood Work?

While there is no one blood test that will diagnose psoriatic arthritis per se, blood work helps our internal medicine physicians in Cary rule out other similar conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. This allows us to reach an accurate and timely diagnosis.

How Is Psoriatic Arthritis Treated?

Dr. Priyank Chaudhary is one of the Triangle’s leading rheumatologists, and we’re proud to have him on staff where he provides innovative and timely treatment that provides relief to patients. Our internal medicine providers can consult with Dr. Chaudhary on a case-to-case basis or set up a consultation and evaluation to provide a personalized treatment plan.

We don’t believe in “one size fits all” medicine. We believe in a customized, tailored approach to meet your individual needs.

Treatment may include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs)
  • Immunosuppressive medicines
  • Biologic medications
  • Vitamins and minerals to strengthen bones and slow bone deformation
  • Physical and occupational therapy to help you with everyday tasks
  • Appropriate exercises
  • Treatment of psoriasis skin rash

Cary Medical Group Provides Relief For Psoriatic Arthritis

Being aware of the early warning signs of psoriatic arthritis can lead you to find relief faster and minimize the chances of long-term damage to your muscles and joints.

By working together, we can provide assistance and help you get back to your normal life. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.


The information on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Speak with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.