How To Care For Nails Affected By Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that causes inflammation in the joints of people with psoriasis, a skin and nail disease. Psoriasis leaves behind red, itchy patches on the skin and, especially in the case of psoriatic arthritis, there may also be changes to fingernails and toenails. According to the Mayo Clinic, most people develop psoriasis first and are diagnosed years later with psoriatic arthritis. However, not everyone with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis.

It's not uncommon for psoriatic arthritis patients to experience changes to their nail beds, whether on the hands or feet. According to Creaky Joints, the majority of people with psoriatic arthritis will see their nail beds go through changes. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis on the nails include nail pits, color changes, thickening, crumbling, or even the nail separating from the nail bed through a process called onycholysis. Nail pits are the most common symptom of the disease, as more than 60% of people with psoriatic arthritis experience dents in their nails.

Treatment for psoriatic arthritis nails

Typically, the fingernails are affected by psoriatic arthritis more than toenails, but the reason behind this is unknown, WebMD reports. In order to care for nails affected by psoriatic arthritis, you'll first want to check with your doctor as they may prescribe a topical medication or other treatment for your nails.

For treatment at home, keep it simple. WebMD recommends trimming both your fingernails and toenails short to help avoid buildup and separation from the nail bed. Don't use fake nails, and instead, care for your own nails by using gentle products, avoiding biting or picking your nails, not wearing tight shoes, and moisturizing your hands. If you prefer hand washing your dishes or have to do manual labor, wear gloves to protect your nails.

To help reduce your risk of infections, maintaining proper nail health is vital, Healthline reports. Keeping your fingernails clean can also help alleviate your symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. If you have psoriasis or notice any new changes in your nail beds, be sure to tell your doctor.