Professional golfer Phil Mickelson was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2010. At first, his joints ached and then one day, he could barely get out of bed due to agonizing pain. While he waited for test results from his rheumatologist, he played in the 2010 U.S. Open and landed a fourth place finish.
If untreated, psoriatic arthritis can affect Mickelson’s golf game. The swelling of the hands and toes can affect his ability to stabilize his swing and stance. Swelling in the hands can also affect how he grips his club. With the help of medications, Mickelson is back in the game. Off the golf course, he is a vocal advocate of raising awareness for arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis which causes swelling and pain in and around joints, as well as a scaly rash on the skin. Joints most commonly affected are the fingers, wrists, toes, knees, shoulders, elbows, and ankles.
In addition to joints and skin, psoriatic arthritis affects the tendons and ligaments around the joints. This causes swelling, not just of joints, but of surrounding tissue as well. Psoriatic arthritis can also affect the spine – a form of the disease called psoriatic spondylitis.
Psoriatic arthritis affects men and women in equal numbers, and like many forms of inflammatory arthritis, it tends to strike people in the prime of their lives; most commonly, people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50.
If you suffer from psoriasis, it is important to remember that you are at an increased risk for developing psoriatic arthritis; speak with your doctor immediately if you develop any of the warning symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis has several “hallmark” symptoms, which are often present at the onset of disease. These include:
- Pain and swelling in the joints, tendons, and ligaments fingers and toes, causing the appearance of “sausage fingers”
- Fingernails becoming detached from the nail bed or developing small pin hole sized dents (called “pitting”) on the surface
- Reduced range of motion
- Morning stiffness, lasting more than one hour