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It Isn’t Your Grandpa’s Arthritis

Most people hear arthritis and think of senior citizens. But anyone can get this type at any age. It can affect big joints like knees and ankles, but it can also show up in your fingers, toes, and back. You might have joint pain and tenderness, as well as fatigue.

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Yes, It Is Tied to Psoriasis

People with psoriasis can get it, but not all of them do. And sometimes the arthritis shows up first. Psoriasis causes painful, scaly patches of skin that can cover large parts of the person’s body. Many people find it embarrassing, so keep that in mind when you start to ask questions.

 

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Things Change Quickly

Here’s how this type of arthritis usually works: One day you’re fine, and the next your joints are swollen and so painful you can barely move. People with psoriatic arthritis call this a flare. It can come and go. It might last one day or several. They often come out of nowhere and cause sudden changes of plans.

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They're Not Lazy

Fatigue is common for people with psoriatic arthritis. Just because someone who has it was ready to hit the hiking trail with you one day doesn’t mean he’ll feel up to it the next. Be flexible about changing plans. Ask if he’d rather stay in and watch movies instead.

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Don’t Take 'No' Personally

If your friend has a flare or just feels super tired, she might break plans. Often. Cut her some slack when she has to cancel. She probably wants to be there more than you know.   

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It’s OK to Offer Help

If you live with someone who has psoriatic arthritis, it’s OK to ask them if they need help. On a bad day, even scrambling an egg can be a huge chore. Lend a hand whenever you can. Or better yet, sit down and make a list of things you can do for them. Even small acts of support from friends and family mean a lot.

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They Don’t Always Look Sick

People who live with pain every day often do grin and bear it. Just because your friend’s social media feed is full of positive messages, it doesn't mean she doesn’t hurt. Help her stay positive. Tell her she looks great when you see her. It makes the effort she took to get dressed, put on makeup, and drive to see you even more worth it!

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Skip the Medical Advice

That’s what the doctor is for. And after years of illness, they really do know more about their disease, its triggers, and how well treatments work than you do. Channel your urge to help into asking how their treatment is working. If they seem like they want to talk, go ahead. If not, find another subject.

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You Can Ask Questions

When you ask questions, that’s a chance for someone who has psoriatic arthritis to teach someone else about this condition. Just don’t offer suggestions for treatment unless you’re a doctor.

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No Cure Doesn’t Mean No There's No Treatment

People with psoriatic arthritis have options. There are treatments to manage pain as well as special medications that stop the inflammation. That helps prevent further joint damage.

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It Can Affect Anyone

Pro golfer Phil Mickelson makes it no secret that he has psoriatic arthritis. But that doesn’t mean it only affects men in their 40s. Women can get it, and so can kids. It can run in families, too.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 08/09/2019 Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on August 09, 2019

SOURCES:

American College of Rheumatology: “Psoriatic Arthritis.”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “About Psoriasis,” “Fatigue and Psoriatic Arthritis.”

Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance: “A beginner’s guide to psoriatic arthritis.”

Ninfa Cantu, San Antonio, TX.

Melissa Withem-Voss, Waukegan, IL.

Diane Talbert, Waldorf, MD.

Billy Howard, Atlanta.

Lori-Ann Holbrook, The Colony, TX.

Jody Quinn, Kingston, MA.

Matthew Kiselica, Irving, TX.

Donna Goodson, Atlanta.

Jaime Moy, Waterford, MI.

Vickie Wilkerson, Shreveport, LA.

Carol Selby, Fishers, IN.

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on August 09, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.