Psoriatic arthritis is a long-term inflammatory arthritis that occurs in people affected by the autoimmune disease psoriasis. The classic feature of psoriatic arthritis is swelling of entire fingers and toes with a sausage-like appearance. This often happens in association with changes to the nails such as small depressions in the nail (pitting), thickening of the nails, and detachment of the nail from the nailbed. Skin changes consistent with psoriasis (e.g., red, scaly, and itchy plaques) frequently occur before the onset of psoriatic arthritis but psoriatic arthritis can precede the rash in 15% of affected individuals. It is classified as a type of seronegative spondyloarthropathy.
Genetics are thought to be strongly involved in the development of psoriatic arthritis. Obesity and certain forms of psoriasis are thought to increase the risk.
Psoriatic arthritis affects up to 30% of people with psoriasis and occurs in both children and adults. Approximately 40–50% of individuals with psoriatic arthritis have the HLA-B27 genotype. The condition is less common in people of Asian or African descent and affects men and women equally.