The doctor may inspect your joints for swelling and tenderness. He or she may also check your fingernails for pits, flakes or other deformities. The soles of your feet may be pressed to discover if there are tender areas.
There is no single test that can diagnose psoriatic arthritis. Some tests can rule out the other reasons for joint pain, for example, rheumatoid arthritis or gouty arthritis.
Your doctor may also request for these imaging tests:
- X-ray to help determine if there are changes in the joints that are present in psoriatic arthritis
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio waves and magnets to deliver images of both hard and soft tissues in your body. This kind of imaging test may check for issues with the ligaments and tendons in your feet and lower back.
Rheumatoid factor (RF) is an antibody that is regularly present in the blood of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, but not in the blood of individuals with psoriatic arthritis. Therefore, this test can enable your doctor to recognize between the two conditions.
Joint fluid examination. Utilizing a needle, your doctor will remove a sample of your joint fluid from your affected joints, frequently the knee. Uric acid crystals in your joint fluid may show that you have gout instead of psoriatic arthritis.
There is no real treatment for psoriatic arthritis, so treatment centers around controlling inflammation in your joints.
Medications that may be given for psoriatic arthritis may include the following:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can relieve pain and decrease
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)that can slow down the progress of psoriatic arthritis and decrease permanent damage in the joints
- Immunosuppressants to control your immune system
- TNF-alpha inhibitors such as Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) which can help reduce pain, stiffness, swelling and tenderness
- Newer medications such as apremilast, ustekinumab and secukinumab
Surgery and other procedures
- Steroid injection scan decrease inflammation
- Joint replacement surgery can replace affected joints with artificial prostheses that may be made of metal or plastic