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What are the Causes or Risk Factors?

Although its precise causes are not yet clear, certain risk factors for psoriatic arthritis have been identified, such as:

Having psoriasis

Psoriasis lesions often precede the joint symptoms by 10 years, on average, in 85% of patients. Some patients, however, may experience joint pain earlier than the skin symptoms.

Family history of psoriatic disease

Approximately 40% of people with psoriatic disease have a family history of these conditions in first-degree relatives (parents, siblings or children).

The presence of nail psoriasis

Nail psoriasis (technically referred to as psoriatic nail dystrophy) occurs in up to 80% of patients with psoriatic arthritis. The presence of nail psoriasis is an important tool for the early detection and management of psoriatic arthritis.


Injury to the joint or bone may be a triggering event. Patients with psoriasis who sustain trauma to joints or bones are more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis in the injured joint and elsewhere.

Researchers believe that genetics and environmental factors play a large role. If there is a family history of PsA or psoriasis, it is more likely that one will develop the condition. PsA is autoimmune in nature, meaning the body mistakenly attacks its own joints. This attack is believed to stem from changes in the environment in a genetically susceptible host.