Psoriatic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)

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Psoriatic arthritis is one type of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Learn about the symptoms and possible complications of this condition.

Key points

  • Psoriasis is a scaly, red rash, usually on the scalp, behind the ears, on the eyelids, elbows, knees, buttocks, or inside the belly button.
  • Psoriatic arthritis affects 3% to 10% of young people with JIA.
  • It can be mild or it can be severe and last into adulthood.

Psoriasis is a skin disease. It is a scaly red rash that can develop on the scalp, behind the ears, on the eyelids, scalp, elbows, knees, buttocks, or in the belly button. Some people with psoriasis may also have discolouration, thickening, pits or ridges in their fingernails.

Some people with psoriasis also have arthritis. This is called psoriatic arthritis. Sometimes the psoriasis starts before the arthritis, but sometimes the arthritis begins before the psoriasis. Individuals may have a different type of JIA before the psoriasis starts. A family history of psoriasis is an important clue to the correct diagnosis.

Quick facts about psoriatic JIA

Psoriatic JIA
JIA affects both males and females equally. It is characterized by nail pitting, swollen fingers or toes, soreness in any joint, and red scaly rash.

Here are a few more things you should know about psoriatic arthritis:

  • It occurs in 3% to 10% of young people who have JIA.
  • It can occur at any age.
  • It affects both boys and girls equally.
  • It can affect a few or many joints.
  • It may involve the hips or back, similar to enthesitis-related JIA.
  • When the tendons of the fingers or toes become swollen or inflamed, they may look like sausages. This is called dactylitis.
  • There is a moderate risk of eye disease, called uveitis.

Some young people have relatively mild psoriatic arthritis. Others have more severe disease that can last into adulthood.

Treatment depends on the severity of the disease and other complications, and can involve DMARDS and biologic medications. Some of these treatments may be different for psoriatic JIA than other types of JIA.

Last updated: January 31st 2017