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Diagnosis After Psoriasis and Joint Pain

I bet I’m not the only one who experienced the symptoms of PsA over a number of years but was sent away with no answers from their doc. I first had psoriasis, but thought it was dry skin at the time due to my job and crawling around on my knees a lot. A change of job and I started to experience swollen and painful toes along with pain in my heels and the underside of my feet.

Every time I went to see my GP he would tell me there’s nothing wrong. Obviously feeling frustrated at what was going on, I kept at them every time it got bad, waking up on mornings and collapsing onto the floor because of the pain. Eventually, I saw a nurse who said it could be plantar fasciitis. Gave me some sort of answer, but again nothing was ever done about it. My job was a lot of being on my feet, so I would experience intense pain after every rest and again kept on at the doctors’ but still got nowhere.

Seeing a rheumatologist

After around 5 years, I was seeing a doctor under different circumstances and by chance, she suffered from PsA herself. Next up was a referral to a rheumatologist who then confirmed it. Confusion was my first feeling due to being only 25 at the time. I thought it was elderly people that experienced arthritis. Well obviously I was wrong and experienced a bit of progress with the arthritis side of PsA in such a short time where it went from my toes to other parts and it was becoming a nuisance.

Seeking the right treatment

I gave the wrong answers on my second visit to the rheumatologist and was given no further treatment at the time other than 1 Lodine tablet a day. My circumstances changed and I had gone back to my family GP who straight away sent me back to the rheumatologist where I gave the right answers this time around after a thorough examination I was given methotrexate. The next few weeks were horrendous with the side effects but I have persevered with the treatment having the dose upped to the maximum they are willing to go and although still get the side effects, I am starting to feel a difference. The pain’s still there but not as intense. And I still get some swelling but feel a lot better compared to how I felt a year ago.

Try everything you can

My advice to anyone is to try anything that’s recommended. It’s a hit or miss process until you find something that helps. I’ve tried home remedies, rubs, heat, supports, and have found what works best for me at this point. Plenty of rest on bad days but keep mobile to avoid stiffening up. We can beat this condition together. I Just need to figure out how to deal with the mental effects of it all.

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Comments

  • Al author
    2 weeks ago

    The flare up started just before christmas! I got some sort of flu like illness, think it may have triggered the flare up. It was affecting 2 fingers in my left hand and one on the right, both knees, lower back and both feet toes on one and ankle/heel on the other! It seems to have died down a little but the mornings are horrendous! When trying to walk and climb into my work van!

    That is rather wierd, could be the weather? Or perhaps an infection of some sort that’s triggered it! That’s good too here you are doing good on the tablets! Its alot to take in one go though!

    There is a possibility of increasing the dose at my next appointment with the rheumatology nurse, I was on 25mg with the tablets, but they wanted to try a lower dose because the injections seem to work better because they miss the stomach

  • CathyD moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Oh gosh, that’s quite a flare, @bigal. Bugs and viruses are terrible for triggering flares :/ I feel for you having to work whilst you feel like that – you must be exhausted. Really hope that it starts to ease up soon. Let me know if you do decide to increase the mtx dose. Hopefully the flare will calm fully before your next appointment!

    The elbow thing is a little odd. You could be right about the weather… I know my fingers can swell during the winter but I’ve never really noticed anything else – perhaps I need to start paying more attention! -Catherine, Community Moderator

  • Al author
    1 month ago

    Hi CathyD, just an update on the menthotrexate injections, had my second injection on monday. Being shown how to give them to myself using the metoject PEN. I wasnt sure at first but the nurse explained everything in great detail and it’s literally 5 seconds. I haven’t had any side effects so far, compared to the nausea and sickness I got with the menthotrexate tablets. Hopfully 1 or 2 more trips to hospital to be watched do them and they will let me do them at home. Started at 20mg to see how I go for a few weeks. Hopfully they help

  • CathyD moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Hey @bigal, thanks for the update! That is great news about the side effects. Sorry to hear that you’re flaring though 🙁 Is the flare in specific joints or all over? I’ve been having a bit of a mild flare in my right elbow lately (weirdly this happened around this time last year too), but otherwise I’m doing okay on the methotrexate… Still having a bit of a hard time with swallowing all of these pills !

    I know you mentioned you were starting on 20mg; have they mentioned increasing the dose? Or just wait and see if the flare calms down? Hope it does very soon!! -Catherine, Community Moderator

  • CathyD moderator
    1 month ago

    Hey @bigal, good to hear from you again 🙂 I am so glad that you’ve not had any side effects with the methotrexate injections so far – you must be relieved after having such a bad time with the tablets. I’m fortunate that my side effects are mild, but as the weeks go on I am struggling more and more to swallow the tablets (starting to think my body’s trying to tell me it’s had enough!). Definitely keep me updated if you can, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the injections do help you! -Catherine, Community Moderator

  • Al author
    2 weeks ago

    Hi cathyD! Another wee update on the injections! So far so good with them, got to start doing them at home the week after christmas. Feel they are doing somthing for me although currently having a flare up! Still no noticable side effects! How are you getting on with the menthotrexate tablets?

  • CathyD moderator
    2 months ago

    Hey @bigal, really appreciate you taking the time to share your story with the community. I can relate to so much of what you have shared – our journeys to diagnosis follow a very similar path!

    I noticed you said you felt confused when you were first diagnosed; how do you feel now? I think my first reaction was denial and I switch in and out of that all the time, even now. It is a lot to take in and accept. Please know that this community is here if you ever need support – we’re all in this together! -Catherine, Community Moderator

  • Al author
    2 months ago

    I feel about 80 now. I’ve just accepted that this is how my life is now. I’ve been relatively fit and healthy most of my life up until the symptoms from the PsA and diagnosis! But it takes over almost all aspects of life. I try to just get on with it but the pain and stiffness can be a bit overwhelming on the bad days and makes me a bit of a grumpy and irritable person. As would with anyone I guess. Do you feel like others around you dont quite understand PsA? I feel like I’m constantly having to explain why or what’s going on, at work etc to the same people over and over.

  • CathyD moderator
    2 months ago

    Ugh, yes it really does affect absolutely everything. You’re definitely not alone in getting grumpy and irritable because of the pain! And then there’s processing how much life changes when you get PsA… As you say, I think anyone would react in that way. But I know it’s not nice to feel like that. We’re always here if you need to vent!

    And YES, I hear you. I think some people have a lot of difficulty understanding what a chronic condition is, and that you can have an illness for an extended period of time/forever? Then there’s the pain and fatigue that you get with PsA. Very generally speaking, I don’t think anyone without some kind of chronic condition will have experienced anything like it. So it’s hard for them to get their head around? I don’t know… It’s frustrating for sure. And exhausting. I actually just give up now and don’t really bring it up anymore. I realise that’s probably not practical at work though :/

    I saw in your other comment that you’re starting on methotrexate injections; will you let me know how you get on with them? I’m taking the tablets at the moment! -Catherine, Community Moderator

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