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What Are the 5 Types of Psoriatic Arthritis?

Understanding What Are the 5 Types of Psoriatic Arthritis: Symptoms and Management

Are you navigating the complexities of psoriatic arthritis and wondering about its different types? Understanding “what the five types of psoriatic arthritis are” is critical to grasping how this condition may present and evolve. This article will explore each type’s unique characteristics and management approaches, providing valuable insights to inform your health journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is classified into five subtypes: Symmetric PsA, Asymmetric PsA, Psoriatic Spondylitis, Distal Interphalangeal Predominant (DIP) PsA, and Psoriatic Arthritis Mutilans (PAM), each with distinct symptoms and affected joints.
  • The development of PsA is closely linked to psoriasis, with 20%-30% of psoriasis patients developing PsA, often many years after the onset of skin symptoms. Risk factors include severe psoriasis, scalp and nail lesions, and family history.
  • Treatment of Psoriatic Arthritis is personalized and ranges from conventional and biological DMARDs to non-pharmacological approaches and lifestyle adaptations such as physical therapy, diet, and various forms of exercise to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Exploring the Five Faces of Psoriatic Arthritis

Illustration of the five types of psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a complex condition that can be categorized into five distinct types, each with specific target areas and varying levels of symptom severity. These subtypes include oligoarticular psoriatic arthritis, polyarticular psoriatic arthritis, distal interphalangeal predominant (DIP) psoriatic arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis associated with psoriasis or sacroiliitis/polyenthesitis/synovial inflammation (ASI).

Symmetric Psoriatic Arthritis: The Mirror Image Affliction

Symmetric psoriatic arthritis joint pain illustration

Symmetric PsA, the most common subtype of psoriatic arthritis (PsA), resembles rheumatoid arthritis, affecting matching joints on both body sides. This particular form accounts for 50%-60% of all cases and is classified as one type among many different types under the category of rheumatic diseases. Symptoms commonly experienced by those with Symmetric PsA include pain, joint swelling, morning stiffness, and nail changes.

Aside from complications related to affected joints, individuals may also experience eye problems and specific issues with their hands and feet due to this condition’s impact on various joints throughout the body.

Asymmetric Psoriatic Arthritis: The Unpredictable Pattern

Asymmetric psoriatic arthritis affected joints illustration

Unlike Symmetric PsA, Asymmetric PsA is usually milder and only affects one side of the body. It typically targets a smaller number of joints, often less than five, such as the knee, hip, fingers or toes. Common symptoms include morning stiffness in affected joints, fatigue, and nail changes. Interestingly, this type is more frequently diagnosed in men.

Psoriatic Spondylitis: The Spinal Challenge

Psoriatic spondylitis spine and sacroiliac joints illustration

Psoriatic spondylitis, a type of psoriatic arthritis (PsA), primarily affects the spine and sacroiliac joints. This subtype causes chronic back pain and stiffness, particularly in the vertebrae joints of the neck. This central area of impact also involves ligament inflammation, leading to arthritis symptoms affecting various other joint areas, such as those in the arms, hips, legs or feet. These may manifest through signs like shoulder stiffness or weakness, headaches, and bladder or bowel function issues.

To diagnose this particular form of PsA effectively, which is characterized by spinal involvement specifically, there are highly accurate techniques available these days that aid medical professionals greatly, an example being MRI scanning since they have high sensitivity towards detecting any occurring inflammations present inside tissues throughout one’s body including relevant sites around where current study pains lie near for instance Sacroiliac Joints between one’s Pelvis bone & lowermost side end segments too among others often responsible giving rise major problems fellow patients face requiring correct diagnosis followed suitable treatment necessary eliminate Psa Symptoms from gripping them eventually building walls rugged cross.

Distal Interphalangeal Predominant (DIP) PsA: Fingers and Toes in Focus

Distal interphalangeal predominant PsA illustration

Distal Interphalangeal Predominant (DIP) PsA is a subtype of psoriatic arthritis that primarily affects the distal interphalangeal joints located at the ends of the fingers and toes. It causes stiffness, swelling, and pain in these joints, making it difficult to stand or walk for extended periods. Nail changes such as pitting, ridging, and crumbling are also commonly seen with this type of PsA, affecting individuals’ ability to use their hands effectively.

Psoriatic Arthritis Mutilans: The Severe Deformer

Psoriatic Arthritis Mutilans, also known as PAM, is a rare and severe type of PsA notorious for causing significant damage to joints and impairing their function. This form mainly affects the smaller joints in areas such as the hands, feet, and wrists, resulting in symptoms like joint deformities, destruction of joints, and limited mobility.

The Intersection of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis

Illustration of the intersection of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis

There is a strong association between psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, as approximately 20%-30% of individuals with psoriasis develop this form. This risk increases in those who have more severe cases of psoriasis. Typically, skin lesions characteristic of psoriasis appear well before joint symptoms manifest, with an average gap of around 12 years.

Some notable predictors for the progression from isolated cutaneous (skin) manifestations to PsA include scalp involvement, nail changes related to the condition and having a family history that provides for someone diagnosed with PsA.

Diagnosing the Spectrum of Psoriatic Arthritis

Diagnosing Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is a complex process involving various methods such as CASPAR criteria, blood tests, imaging techniques and screening tools. While blood tests are available to aid in diagnosis, clinical evidence remains the primary factor for determining whether an individual has PsA. Typically found subtypes include asymmetric oligoarthritis and polyarthritis.

Ultrasound and MRI are helpful imaging techniques for examining peripheral joints and entheses. These can effectively differentiate between active lesions indicating inflammation versus chronic ones during the diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis.

Tailored Treatments for Each Type of Psoriatic Arthritis

A personalized treatment approach is used for each subtype of Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA), an autoimmune disorder. The initial step involves using conventional Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs). If there is a lacklustre response to at least one traditional option, biological DMARDS are prescribed as alternative treatments.

Managing Mild PSA: Non-Pharmacological Approaches

Mild PSA management through physical therapy illustration

In managing mild PsA, non-pharmacological strategies such as physical or occupational therapy, low-impact exercise, and cold therapy can be effective. Engaging in activities with individuals with mild PsA ties, like walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, and tai chi, is recommended for individuals to make adjustments during flare-ups.

Occupational therapy should also be considered, with these approaches tailored to the individual’s needs. Cold therapy may also relieve symptoms of mild PTSD when applied appropriately. Making modifications according to one’s condition remains crucial during periods of exacerbation. To manage milder cases of this.

Addressing More Severe PSA: Advanced Therapeutics

Biologics and JAK inhibitors for severe PsA illustration

Advanced treatment methods such as biologics and JAK inhibitors are utilized to address the more severe cases of PsA. These advanced therapies specifically target inflammatory pathways and immune system components to decrease inflammation. Biologic types, including TNF inhibitors, IL-17 inhibitors, and IL-23 inhibitors, have been found effective in managing intense symptoms associated with psoriatic arthritis, decreasing disease activity levels, and preventing joint damage from occurring.

Lifestyle Adaptations for Living with Psoriatic Arthritis

Lifestyle adaptations for living with Psoriatic Arthritis

Making specific lifestyle changes can help in managing PsA (psoriatic arthritis). A few recommendations to keep in mind include including anti-inflammatory foods, watching portion sizes, staying hydrated and following a Mediterranean diet rich in antioxidants and fibre. These modifications have the potential to decrease inflammation and overall health support for individuals with psoriatic arthritis – which is an inflammatory type of joint pain disorder. This may reduce reliance on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as effective treatment options for psoriasis.

Partaking in diverse exercise routines targeting aerobic activities, stretching exercises, or strengthening practices works hand-in-hand towards better cardiovascular wellbeing and increased muscle strength while ensuring flexibility improvement and balancing between muscle groups is maintained simultaneously.


In brief, understanding the different forms of psoriatic arthritis and their distinct symptoms is crucial for effectively managing this complex condition. With proper knowledge, assistance, and adjustments to one’s lifestyle, those with PsA can successfully navigate towards improved wellbeing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most destructive form of psoriatic arthritis?

Arthritis mutilans, a highly damaging manifestation of psoriatic arthritis, results in intense inflammation of the joints, leading to deformity and impaired mobility. This type is considered the most severe and least common form of psoriatic arthritis, affecting less than 5% of people with the condition.

What is considered severe psoriatic arthritis?

Severe psoriatic arthritis is distinguished by challenges or incapacity to perform movements and utilize the joints, accompanied by more extensive areas of psoriasis on the skin. It may also be called polyarticular, impacting five or more joints throughout the body.

How can you tell if someone has psoriatic arthritis?

Detecting psoriatic arthritis in a person can be done by observing for indications and indicators like stiffness, swelling, and discomfort of the joints. These manifestations may target different body areas with varying degrees of severity.

What does psoriatic arthritis pain feel like?

Pain associated with psoriatic arthritis can be stiffness, swelling, and discomfort in one or multiple joints. Individuals may experience swollen digits, changes in their nail appearance, and a sensation of fatigue.

What are the first signs of psoriatic arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis can show early signs such as a thick, red rash, joint stiffness and pain. Fatigue is also expected to cause eye inflammation, which may cause blurred vision and redness. Painful joints accompanied by swelling can occur anywhere on the body at varying levels of severity.

Similar to psoriasis, this condition has periods of flare-ups followed by times when symptoms are not present or less severe.

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