6 Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis that Might Surprise You
Last updated: June 2023
If you’ve lived with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) for any length of time you know that this condition is so much more than swollen joints and flaky skin.
Chances are, you’ve likely experienced one or more of these six strange symptoms that most people would never associate with PsA. In fact, the only reason I even know these symptoms is because I’ve experienced each and every one of them myself. Woot! Lucky me!
What strange symptoms do you experience with psoriatic arthritis?
I also suspect that I’m not in the minority here. In fact, I believe that more of us experience these additional “surprising” symptoms than doctors are even aware of. While these 6 symptoms of psoriatic arthritis might not surprise you, they might (sadly) surprise your doctor.
Depending on how far back you'd like to go with my experience with PsA, hearing loss could be looked at as my “first” symptom of psoriatic arthritis. At least, this is the one that sent me most quickly to the doctor and pushed me relentlessly to pursue the right answers.
Inflammation in the ear canal and sometimes even psoriasis in the ear can cause not only hearing loss but balance and vertigo issues as well. While it is difficult to pinpoint some exact numbers, one reliable study found that “60% of the 60 patients showed abnormal hearing loss in the audiogram compared to only 5 (8.3%) of the 60 controls.” 1
Teeth and mouth involvement
There are a few ways your mouth can get in on the PsA symptom list. Not only can the joint in your jaw flare-up, but you can also develop other dental issues associated with autoimmune diseases in general such as root resorption or tooth resorption.
I experienced this pre-PsA diagnosis. And while I’ve never even had a cavity, I do have one fewer tooth thanks to psoriatic arthritis.
I recently learned that there are significantly more of us that suffer from enthesitis than most doctors seem to think. In fact, it wasn’t until after diagnosis that I had a name for that throbbing pain that I routinely felt down my arm.
Technically it is the term for inflammation of tendons and ligaments around our joints that often gets overlooked in favor of our actual joints themselves.
Despite the fact that I’ve never been diagnosed with Celiac disease, or even Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) however, my tummy is certainly more prone to “upset” or “irritability” when I eat certain things like gluten, dairy, or sadly, even sugar.
I believe this is likely due to the general irritability of my body. And of course, my tummy and intestinal tract apparently don't want to feel left out.
Eye symptoms come as a surprise to many who don’t typically associate our eyes with “traditional” psoriatic arthritis symptoms. But eye inflammation (often called uveitis among others as well) is experienced by many of us with PsA.
Eye redness, pain, irritation, and even vision changes can surprise many of us. Even before diagnosis, I often found myself at the eye doctor because of frequent bouts of conjunctivitis.
Random rashes that aren’t even psoriasis
Waking up with a new itchy spot, random bumps, or red rash is not an unusual experience for me. Do I head to the dermatologist for each new rash that pops up? Nope. Not a chance. I usually just grab some hydrocortisone cream, slap that stuff on, and hope that in a few days it gets better.
My point here is that for my easily irritable body, every single irritant that aggravates my immune system can cause an assortment of random thus undefined skin rashes. It’s not necessarily earth-shattering, but just annoying enough to be one more thing to manage.
Anything we missed? What surprises you?
Unfortunately for me, I’m pretty much 6 for 6 when it comes to experiencing some of these surprising symptoms that come with psoriatic arthritis. But more importantly, being aware of these surprising symptoms can help us connect the dots and find better treatment when those strange and seemingly unrelated symptoms rear their ugly heads.
Do you have any questions about PsA?