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15 Need-To-Know Terms When Living with PsA

About 30% to 40% of people living with psoriasis will also be diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA). If you are newly diagnosed or just want to learn more about the disease, here is a guide with terms specifically related to PsA.

PsA-related terms to know

Adaptive tools: Due to inflamed and stiff joints, individuals with more severe forms of psoriatic disease may find it difficult to do something as simple as gripping a spoon or twisting a top from a jar. Adaptive tools can assist individuals who may face daily challenges with mobility. The article here provides examples for adaptive tools in the kitchen.

Arthritis Mutilans: This is a rare severe form of arthritis. It’s caused by reabsorption of bone and collapsed tissue. Someone with this condition will have severely deformed inflamed finger and toes. Is also characterized as irreversible joint damage.

Asymmetric Psoriatic Arthritis: A form of Psa which doesn’t show up in both joints of the body like in symmetric PsA. Someone with this condition may feel joint pain in their left knee but not the right one. Individuals diagnosed with this condition typically have a mild form.

Autoimmune Disease: A category of diseases that occur when the body’s immune system sends out faulty signals causing the components of it to overactive. These signals cause the body to either attack itself or create unnecessary cells. In the case of PsA, skin cells are growing at an abnormal rate.

Dactylitis: Also refer to as sausage digit is a symptom of PsA when an entire finger or toe is swollen and resembles a sausage. If not treated, it can lead to irreversible joint damage.

Distal Psoriatic Arthritis: This is a form of PsA which effects the ends of the finger and toes, typically in the form of nail psoriasis. This form of the disease is characterized as pitted and weak nails. If one has psoriasis but hasn’t been diagnosed with PsA this type of psoriasis is usually a symptom indicating the arthritis component of psoriasis even if arthritis symptoms have not yet appeared.

Enthesitis: A common symptom of PsA where inflammation occurs in the joints where the tendons and ligaments are attached.

Immunosuppressants: Treatments which suppress specific components of the immune system which are overactive to promote normal joint function and skin. When effective, these treatments typically eliminate symptoms including inflammation, pain, and plaque psoriasis.

Nail Psoriasis: Distal Psoriatic Arthritis

Sacroiliitis: This is when inflammation occurs in the tendons of the lower back and the pelvis. 40% of people living with PsA will experience this pain.

Sausage Digit: Dactylitis

Spondylitis: Also referred to as Ankylosing Spondylitisthis is another form of PsA which affects the spine causing pain and stiffness. This is a symptom which can have an affect on the entire body including the shoulders, hips, ribs, and heels.

Symmetric Psoriatic Arthritis: Opposite of asymmetric psoriasis this form of PsA will effect identical joints of both sides of the body.

Telescoping Fingers: An indication of arthritis mutilans used to describe when the hands and toes are severely deformed.

Tendinitis: Condition in which the tendon becomes inflamed.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Merete
    8 months ago

    PsA/. I’ve been attempting to share and send this article all day…nothing happens…not being sent…why?

  • CathyD moderator
    8 months ago

    Hi @merete,

    Sorry to read that there’s an issue with sharing and sending this article. Thanks for letting us know!

    So we can look into this for you, would you mind letting us know how you’re trying to share/send it (email, Facebook, etc), which web browser you’re using, and any error message you’re seeing (if any).

    Something else worth trying, if you haven’t done so already, is clearing your browser’s cache. Instructions on how to do this can be found here: Let us know if that helps!

    Hopefully we can get this fixed for you. Look forward to hearing from you soon!

    Best wishes,
    Catherine, Community Moderator

  • rjnavarre
    9 months ago

    I’m not proud that I know most of these terms.

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