Psoriatic Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis: Which One Is It?

What are the differences between OA and PsA?

Arthritis can be a combination of several diseases. Arthritis can refer to more than 100 types of joint pain and damage. Psoriatic arthritis, also known as PsA, and osteoarthritis are the most common types of arthritis.

PsA can be described as an autoimmune disease. It can cause joint stiffness, swelling, and pain. PsA can also cause psoriasis symptoms like a scaly skin rash or nail pitting. PsA can cause mild problems, but it is not common. Some cases can be severe or even debilitating.

OA is an aging-related form of arthritis that results in wear and tear to the joints. This is the most common form of arthritis. It is the most common type of arthritis that affects more than 30,000,000 Americans.

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Sometimes, it’s not clear what causes joint pain or other symptoms of arthritis. It may be difficult to distinguish PsA from OA if it affects your joints first. Your doctor can use your symptoms, genetic information, and test results to determine the type of arthritis you have.

Tips to identify a PsA

PsA symptoms are often mistaken for OA or rheumatoid (RA) symptoms. To distinguish between PsA from other forms of arthritis, you must identify unique characteristics. The following are the key symptoms that differentiate PsA from OA or other forms of arthritis:

  • Toes or fingers swelling
  • PsA can cause the fingers and toes to swell like sausages. This is called dactylitis.
  • Skin rashes

Psoriasis is caused by the buildup of skin cells. This causes the skin to thicken, and then turn red. Sometimes, the redness can be enhanced by silvery-white patches. These rashes are known as plaques and can be found on your scalp, face or hands.

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  • Nail changes
  • Around 80 percent of PsA patients have discolored, pitted, or thickened nails.
  • PsA and OA both affect similar joints, such as the:
  • Lower back
  • fingers
  • toes
  • Knees

While OA pain is constant, PsA can flare up and down in a flash. The symptoms get worse over time and then return to normal.

Here are some tips to help you identify OA

Unlike PsA, OA doesn’t have a cyclical nature. It can, however, get worse over time.

OA pain can be mild at first. It is possible to feel a twinge in your knees when you bend them, or your joints may ache after a hard workout.

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As the joint damage worsens, stiffness, pain, swelling, as well as stiffness, will increase. Your joints will also feel stiff, especially when you wake up in the morning. Most likely, OA will affect the joints in your body that move most.

This applies to your joints:

  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Knees
  • Hips
  • spine

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