Psoriatic Arthritis

Also known as: oligoarticular, spondyloarthropathies.

What is psoriatic arthritis?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin and nail disease that frequently presents in young people 15-35 years of age though approximately 33% present under the age of 20 years. One third of children with psoriasis will have psoriatic arthritis (joint inflammation).

What causes psoriatic arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s organs and tissues. While the exact cause is unknown, there appears to be a genetic/hereditary component in that 40%-80% of affected children have an affected family member. Environmental factors may also play a role.

What are the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis? 

The skin disease may start before or after the arthritis. While symptoms vary in individual children, common presentations of psoriatic arthritis include:

  • red, inflamed, swollen and painful joints (often fingers and toes)
  • morning stiffness of the toes, fingers, back and pelvis
  • reduced range of motion
  • joint deformities
  • eye pain

Nail pitting and fatigue are other common symptoms.

What are psoriatic arthritis care options? 

A variety of different medications are used to treat the joint inflammatory process. These include over-the-counter anti-inflammatory/pain relievers, to medications that regulate the immune system, vitamins and minerals to slow bone deformity, biologic medicines, corticosteroids and surgery as needed to address damaged joints.

Other symptom management's include heat and cold, splints, physical and occupational therapy and exercises.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: May 22, 2023 01:51 PM

Pediatric Rheumatology

The Division of Rheumatology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital has been treating rheumatologic and immunological conditions for over four decades.

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