We Heard From You! The Weird Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
Last updated: June 2023
Psoriatic arthritis is a challenging diagnosis to live with, especially because what it looks like can change so wildly from person to person. It can show up in parts of the body where you least expected it. It can affect your eyes, your bones and many other places in the body.
A look at the weird symptoms of PsA
To understand more about the many ways that psoriatic arthritis affects you, we reached out on the Psoriatic-Arthritis.com Facebook page, asking you to fill in the blank: “My strangest PsA symptom is: _____.”
More than 300 of you commented. Here are the symptoms you named.
“Pain in the top of my feet.”
It is possible that people with psoriatic arthritis can feel pain in the bones of the feet. That pain can show up as anything from feet swelling to stiffness in the feet. Heel pain very similar to plantar fasciitis is also possible.
“My feet have just started aching, burning, itching and giving me fits at night!”“I can feel my feet hurting even when I am sleeping. I know it seems impossible but I swear it happens. They hurt every moment of every single day.”
The good news is that pain in the feet is often made worse by inactivity. In other words, if you can stay moving and walking, you will likely feel better.
Do you experience pain in your feet with PsA?
“My patches sometimes get a ‘crawling’ sensation.”
The symptom that feels like bugs crawling over the skin is so common that is has a name: formication. Some people experience this feeling only on their affected skin, and some experience it all over their bodies.
“My patches sometimes get a ‘crawling’ sensation that gives me the heebie-jeebies like crazy."
Do you ever experience a crawling sensation with your PsA?
“My eyeballs aching.”
Approximately 7 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis develop inflammation in the eye. This can be experienced as redness, blurry vision, pain in the eye or light sensitivity. It is a sensation hallucination—in other words, your brain is responsible for making you feel the feeling.
“My eyes! They itch, burn, water and hurt! Not to mention the vision loss.”“My eyeballs aching.”
Some people find that formication is worse when they eat certain foods, such as gluten, eggs or dairy. If you are not sure if food makes your formication worse, try keeping a food diary for a few weeks to see if avoiding certain foods makes it any better.
Do you experience eye pain with PsA?
“I do have pain in my rib cartilage.”
Pain experienced in cartilage also can be common. Cartilage in any part of the body can be damaged by long-term inflammation as a result of psoriatic arthritis.
“I get charlie horses in my ribs. They have seemed to stop since I started medication though.”“My ear cartilage aching. This is odd to me, compared to the usual joint/tendon pain, brain fog, fatigue, etc. But then again, I do have pain in my rib cartilage, so I guess it is not so weird that my ears hurt.”
Do you have pain in your rib cage as a PsA symptom?
“Every day is a different pain.”
For some of you in the community, the hardest part is that the symptoms of your psoriatic arthritis are constantly changing. A few of you mentioned that it feels like people might not believe what you say because you are reporting different symptoms all the time.
“Sometimes I feel like a hypochondriac because my symptoms are ever-changing. I think I must sound like I am full of crap when I tell others, including doctors, about what is going on. The symptoms change so much. I feel like there is always something ‘wrong’ with me.”“Every day is a different pain. I never know which joint will be affected that day, but I can always count on pain in my spine and neck pain. I wish there was something better for pain.”
Feeling grateful for the community views
However, many people in the psoriatic arthritis community can relate, and they understand that this diagnosis can look different every day.
We wish to say thank you to everyone who opened up about their unusual psoriatic arthritis symptoms. It is our hope that people reading this will feel less alone in their struggles with this chronic disease.
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