Several different kinds of arthritis exist, and psoriatic arthritis is just one of them. And within psoriatic arthritis, there are five types that can appear. These types include symmetric arthritis, asymmetric arthritis, spondylitis, distal interphalangeal predominant (DIP), and arthritis mutilans. Some people may encounter features of more than one type of psoriatic arthritis, or over time they may experience a change in the pattern of their condition. For these reasons, it can be difficult to determine exactly which type of psoriatic arthritis you may have.
Symmetric arthritis (also called symmetrical polyarthritis): This is the type that affects about 50% of those with psoriatic arthritis. It resembles a mild form of rheumatoid arthritis and usually affects joints on both sides of the body (which is why this type is called "symmetric"). This condition tends to involve severe psoriasis, and may also progress to a disabling state for about half of those affected.
Asymmetric arthritis: This type involves the joints of the extremities. After symmetric arthritis, it is the next most common type, affecting about 35% of those with psoriatic arthritis. It does not usually affect joints on both sides of the body (hence the name "asymmetric"). This condition usually remains at a mild state; however, in some people it may progress to a stage of disability.
Spondylitis: This type of arthritis usually causes inflammation of the sacroiliac joints (located in the lower back where the spine connects with the hips) and spine, although it can also affect the arms, legs, hands, and feet. This condition makes it difficult for people to move about, and it causes pain while doing so.
Distal interphalangeal predominant (DIP): This condition involves the joints of the fingers and the toes that are closest to the nails.
Arthritis mutilans: This is a rare but severe form of psoriatic arthritis. Affecting less than 5% of people with psoriatic arthritis, it appears mainly in the joints of the hands and feet, and causes deformity to those areas. This condition tends to be closely linked to psoriasis in terms of flare-ups and remission, as these events will often occur around the same time.
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