How Does Psoriatic Arthritis Affect the Nails?


Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a type of arthritis that establishes in people who have psoriasis. It’s an inflammatory condition that causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Many people establish psoriasis signs on their skin prior to they develop signs of PsA, though others see arthritis symptoms initially. People with PsA typically have symptoms that affect their nails. In fact, fingernail psoriasis is in some cases an early indication of PsA. According to a research review published in 2017, about 80 percent of people with PsA have nail lesions.

Keep reading to learn more about how PsA can affect your nails.

Signs and Symptoms

PsA can trigger a range of nail concerns. Bear in mind that not everybody with PsA experiences these problems, and others might have only one or two of these nail modifications.


Lots of people with PsA have nail psoriasis, which can result in pitting. This causes your nails to look like they have little holes or dents in them. They might likewise feel rough or rough to the touch.

Pitting occurs when uncommon cell growth causes a buildup of deposits on your nail. When these deposits fall off, they leave holes and dents.

Your nail will continue to grow around these locations.


PsA can trigger your nail to separate from its nail bed. This might happen in small pockets or across your entire nail. When a small location of the nail raises off the nail bed, it may look like a clear or white area.

Nail separation occurs as a result of swelling in the nail bed.

White Spots

PsA can likewise cause white areas on your nail. These tend to happen in the middle of your nail.

They show that you have psoriatic lesions in your nail matrix, which is the part of the nail bed where new nail cells are made.


For some, PsA can cause nail discoloration. This might trigger your nails to look oil-stained. The specific color of these stains may differ, but they often have a pink or purple tint.

They’re brought on by a buildup of cellular debris below your nail.

Red Spots

Another sign of PsA takes place in the whitish half-moon near the base of your nail, referred to as the lunula. Some people with PsA develop red spots in this area, however no one’s sure why. These red areas might indicate the development of new blood vessels.

Crumbling or Flaking

People with PsA may have nails that seem:

Information verified by the team.
  • crinkling up
  • crumbling
  • flaking off layer by layer

Crumbling and flaking of the nail can happen as a result of swelling or too many skin cells in your nail bed.


Individuals with PsA often establish vertical ridges adding and down their nails. These feel and look like raised lines.

They take place when psoriatic sores form in the nail matrix.

Splitting with Purple Spots

Splitting typically works together with ridges. Your nail may split vertically along among the ridge lines.

If there’s a dark area in the ridge, it could be an indication of a splitting hemorrhage. These take place when blood vessels break and leak blood into little splits in the nail.


Splitting and crumbling can leave your nails vulnerable to bacteria and fungi. This can lead to paronychia (a nail infection) and nail fungi.

How Are PsA-related Nail Problems Treated?

PsA-related nail problems generally react well to general PsA treatments, particularly oral medications used to lower inflammation and protect your joints from damage.

Common medications for PsA include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs help in reducing inflammation and deal with plain. This class of medication includes ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). DMARDs — such as methotrexate (Trexall), leflunomide (Arava), apremilast (Otezla), and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) — work to prevent PsA from permanently damaging your joints.
  • Biologic agents. Biologics are a newer generation of arthritis drugs, formed through genetic engineering. They target swelling in your body.

Some treatments work to target your nails straight, such as:

  • Cortisone injections. Cortisone injections typically target inflammation in a single joint, but they can likewise be injected into the nail bed to decrease swelling and combat psoriatic sores.
  • Steroid cream. Your doctor can prescribe a steroid cream for you to rub straight on your nails.
  • Light therapy. Light therapy (phototherapy) uses ultraviolet light to target psoriasis by slowing skin cell development. It can be carried out at home with unique devices or at your doctor’s office to deal with psoriasis of the nails.
  • Antifungal medications. If you develop a fungal nail infection, your doctor might prescribe a topical antifungal cream.
  • Antibiotics. If you have a bacterial infection in your nail, you might require oral antibiotics.

Home Remedies for PsA

Some home remedies can assist relieve signs of PsA in nails. Here are numerous things you can do to assist handle nail psoriasis:

  • Keep your fingernails clean and cut.
  • Hydrate your hands and feet with a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer.
  • Wear gloves when doing manual labor or household chores, such as cleaning dishes.
  • Prevent soaking your hands and feet in really hot water, which can cause dryness.
  • Use a soft-bristled nail brush instead of sharp objects to clean under nails.
  • Prevent biting or picking at your nails and the skin around them.
  • Carefully attend to hangnails and use an antibiotic ointment when essential.
  • Make sure that any manicures or pedicures are done under hygienic conditions.
  • Prevent wearing artificial nails.

Constantly let your doctor know before attempting any herbal or natural solutions such as turmeric to help reduce inflammation. The effectiveness of herbal remedies hasn’t been shown.

When to See a Doctor

Psoriasis of the nails can be an early sign of PsA, an inflammatory condition that can cause other nail problems.

While a few of these issues are unavoidable, looking after your nails and protecting them versus infection can help to reduce your danger.

If you see any indications of psoriasis or any fungal infections, inform your doctor. If you have psoriasis and discover new nail signs, your doctor can assist identify and treat the locations.

Discovering the best treatment and sign relief requires time. However, new treatments are being investigated every day that could bring relief.

Ali Gadimov
Health Recovery Tips