If you’re living with psoriatic arthritis, you know how it can affect your skin and joints. Odds are, you’ve noticed changes to your nails, too.
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Fingernail and toenail differences are quite common with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
People are often bothered by these nail changes, says rheumatologist M. Elaine Husni, MD, MPH. “They can be troubled by the cosmetic aspects of nail symptoms. What’s more, these changes can sometimes cause discomfort,” she says.
But like other symptoms of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, nail symptoms can be managed.
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are autoimmune diseases that cause inflammation.
Nail symptoms are common in people with psoriasis — and even more common in those with psoriatic arthritis. As many as 80% of people with psoriatic arthritis notice changes in their nails. In fact, nail symptoms can be an early warning sign of this type of arthritis.
Nail symptoms, it turns out, are more than skin deep.
Each of your nails is made of three components:
“Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can affect all three parts of the nail,” Dr. Husni explains. “Depending on where it strikes, you can experience several different nail symptoms.”
With psoriatic arthritis, some people might experience changes with just a few nails while others might notice changes with all of their fingernails and toenails.
Nail changes due to psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis come in many different forms:
To treat psoriatic arthritis nail changes, your doctor may prescribe topical creams or ointments to rub on your nails. Systemic medications (ones that affect the entire body) to treat psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis can also help a lot. These medications might include:
Treating psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can help reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of nail psoriasis. The following tips can also help keep your nails healthy and pain-free.
Managing the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can be a handful. With some TLC, you can keep those hands healthy. Toes, too.