Five Types of Psoriatic Arthritis

There are five types of psoriatic arthritis!💙 Learn the differences and what treatments are available.

There are five types of psoriatic arthritis!! As if this chronic illness wasn’t misunderstood enough, it has to complicate things even further by having multiple forms. And if that wasn’t enough, it turns out that a person can have more than one form!!!!!

Continue reading to learn more about each form, how they are treated, and tips to help you live with your diagnosis.

There are five forms of #psoriaticarthritis and some people may have more than one. #arthritisawareness

Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical professional. Always consult with your doctor if you suspect a diagnosis or are experiencing any health issues. This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee-drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied with caffeine. It’s a win for everyone.

What are the 5 types of Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)?

What do you think of when someone says they have psoriatic arthritis? Do you assume that it is limited to joint pain in the hands? Unfortunately, that’s exactly what many people think. PsA is an autoimmune disease that attacks the body. As you will see, inflammation of joints is one symptom, but there are many more.


Asymmetric Psoriatic Arthritis

Approximately one in three people have this typically mild form of psoriatic arthritis. Swelling and discomfort due are commonly experienced in toes, fingers, hips, or knees on one side of the body. Common symptoms include red scaly patches on the skin, difficulty moving, and morning joint stiffness.

Symmetric Psoriatic Arthritis

The most common of the five forms, it affects approximately half the people diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. The symptoms are similar to Asymmetric, but with the exception that it affects both sides of the body.

The 5 types of psoriatic arthritis are Asymmetric, Symmetric, Distal, Spondylitis, and Arthritis Mutilans.  Learn more here. (Psoriatic Arthritis Infographic)

Distal Psoriatic Arthritis

This form affects the tips of fingers and toes. Because of this, it is often confused with osteoarthritis. Symptoms include but are not limited to swelling, stiffness, pitting of nails, discolored nails, and nails that lift away from the nailbed.


The symptom that makes this form stand out is constant back pain and sometimes pain in the neck too. It is caused by inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae. Spondylitis also affects ligaments/connective tissue. It may also be linked to arthritis in the joints of the hips, arms, legs, and feet. Symptoms include but are not limited to stiffness, weakness in arms and legs, bladder/bowel issues, and headaches.

What you need to know about psoriatic spondylitis and hip pain!

Arthritis Mutilans

Last but not least, we have the rarest form of psoriatic arthritis. This form affects only one in twenty of those diagnosed with PsA. The damage it causes to the ends of hands and feet may shorten the length of a person’s fingers and toes due to bone loss. For some, it also affects their neck and back. Symptoms include but are not limited to pain and stiffness of hands and feet, limited range of motion, changes in nails, and disfigurement of toes and fingers.


How are these five types of Psoriatic Arthritis treated?

As there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis of any kind, the best our doctors are able to do is to help us decrease the inflammation. In my post Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Connection, I shared the many different treatments available. Click here to see what is available and to learn more about them. I am that rare person who doesn’t respond well to pharmaceutical medications. This led me to experiment with natural and alternative options.

I have three of the five types of psoriatic arthritis, Symmetric, Distal, and Spondylitis. The inflammation that occurs between my vertebrae is crippling. I thankfully found relief in 2017 after four months of all-day PEMF therapy treatments. I continue to treat my spine, but no longer have to do it daily. (Update 2022, Due to an unrelated health issue, I have had to significantly decrease how often I treat my spine with PEMF therapy. I hope that when the other issue is resolved that I will be able to resume the frequency of treatments that provided so much relief.)


Other things that help improve the quality of living with PsA are following an anti-inflammatory diet, exercising, quitting smoking, decreasing alcohol consumption, using hot and cold therapies, and reducing stress. Believe it or not, stress is a huge trigger!

Psoriatic arthritis is a debilitating disease. If you find that it is limiting your mobility and stopping you from going out, you may want to invest in a mobility aid. If you’re struggling with the idea of using one, read my post-Mobility Aids, Everybody Uses Them. Then click here to find one that fits your needs and lifestyle.

Which form(s) of psoriatic arthritis do you have?

Were you aware that there were so many different forms of PsA?


Published by Cynthia Covert

Diagnosed in 2001 with psoriasis, followed by fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, endometriosis, and later a botched hysterectomy turned her world upside down. Cynthia shares her experience, advice, and tips for how to make life with chronic pain easier and less painful.

7 thoughts on “Five Types of Psoriatic Arthritis

  1. Very informative about something I really had very little knowledge. It’s good that you also. That’s amazing that the PEMF treatment helped you so much. It’s on my want list.

  2. Great breakdown and simple to understand post of the different types of Psoriatic Arthritis – I never know and reading blogs like these truly help me to learn so much more about other diseases and in turn, about mine as well 🙂 Sending love! x

  3. I never realised that there five types of psoriatic arthritis! This was extremely informative and another reminder of how many conditions there are within one umbrella term.

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