Psoriatic arthritis symptoms to spot on your toes including pitting and Beau’s line

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects people who are susceptible to the skin condition psoriasis.

The condition can affect anyone, including children, and results in joints that swell and become stiff and painful.

Psoriatic arthritis is a long-term condition and can get worse over the years, similar to arthritis.

With earlier detection, diagnosis and treatment can help prevent or limit the extensive joint damage occurring in later stages of the disease.

A person’s nails can give an indication to their risk to psoriatic arthritis with any of the following changes potentially being early warning symptoms.

What happens to your nails with psoriatic arthritis?

According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, around 80% of people with psoriatic arthritis will be afflicted with nail lesions.

The research added: “Most patients with psoriasis have nail involvement and is considered as an important psychological and social problem.

“Nail changes are not only a cosmetic defect, but also may lead to many difficulties in daily activities including work and impairment in quality of life.”

It continued that the nail involvement in psoriasis not only causes severe pain but also “anxiety and depression because of its resistance to therapy”.

“They can be troubled by the cosmetic aspects of nail symptoms,” says rheumatologist Dr Elaine Husni.

“What’s more, these changes can sometimes cause discomfort. Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can affect all three parts of the nail.

“Depending on where it strikes, you can experience several different nail symptoms.”

Psoriatic arthritis nail symptoms to spot
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s worth speaking to your GP about a potential psoriatic arthritis diagnosis.

Nail pitting
Onycholysis, when the nail detaches from the nail bed
Subungual hyperkeratosis, where a chalky substance gathers under the nail and the nail bed thickens
Beau’s lines, which are indentations that run horizontally across the nail
Splinter haemorrhages
Discolouration of the nails turning yellow or brown
Fungal infections.

Among the nail changes, nail pitting remains the biggest early warning symptom, appearing for 68% of patients.

These pits are superficial depressions within the nail place and are linked with inflammation of the nail matrix.

The length of these pits on the nails can also suggest the length of time the disease has been active in your body.

It’s important to note that nail pitting can also be evident in other health conditions such as eczema or alopecia.

When to see a GP

If a person is experiencing persistent pain, swelling or stiffness in their joints, they should speak to their GP even if they have not been diagnosed with psoriasis.

“If you’ve been diagnosed with psoriasis, you should have check-ups at least once a year to monitor your condition,” adds the NHS.

“Make sure you let the doctor know if you’re experiencing any problems with your joints.”