Battling Psoriatic Arthritis Like Phil Mickelson
Nearly a decade ago, PGA pro Phil Mickelson announced that he had psoriatic arthritis, bringing a new level of awareness to the condition.
Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can range from mild to severe and include joint pain, stiffness and swelling. Your joints may also be warm to the touch. Any part of the body can be affected — on one side or both sides of your body, though psoriatic arthritis most often causes your fingers and toes to swell, foot pain and lower back pain.
Psoriatic arthritis is the result of your body’s immune system attacking healthy cells and tissue. This causes inflammation in your joints.
Psoriatic arthritis can worsen over time and alternate between flare ups and periods where the disease is more dormant. Most people who are diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis also have psoriasis, a chronic skin condition that is often itchy and painful.
There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, and if not treated properly, psoriatic arthritis can leave you disabled and prevent you from playing golf and participating in other activities. This is why it’s important to tell your medical provider if you develop joint pain. You may ultimately be referred to a rheumatologist.
At Middlesex Health, Dr. Thomas Terenzi and Dr. Christine Taliercio, rheumatologists, treat patients who have psoriatic arthritis (and those with other types of arthritis too). “Getting appropriate care is very important when it comes to arthritis,” they say. “It can make a difference in how the disease progresses and the impact it has on your life.”
For those with psoriatic arthritis, there is no cure. Treatment is about controlling joint inflammation, and preventing joint pain and disability. Treatment will depend on how severe your psoriatic arthritis is and what joints are affected, and it often involves prescription medications. This is the case for Phil Mickelson.
Phil Mickelson’s psoriatic arthritis is reportedly treated with a variety of medications, and he is known for using Enbrel, a biologic response modifying drug, to control his condition and reduce any pain. For him, Enbrel worked so well that he became Enbrel’s spokesman!
For some psoriatic arthritis patients, physical and occupational therapy might also help with pain. In addition, sometimes patients need steroid injections to reduce inflammation in affected joints.
Joint replacement surgery may be an option for those with joints that have been severely damaged by psoriatic arthritis. This replaces damaged joints with metal or plastic prosthesis.
What’s your risk?
The following are risk factors for psoriatic arthritis:
- Having psoriasis
- Having a family history of psoriatic arthritis
- Your age (Psoriatic arthritis is most common in those between the ages of 30 and 55.)
How can you minimize your risk?
- Protect your joints.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Stop smoking.
- Drink less alcohol.
- Rest up. (Sometimes, pain and inflammation can make you tired.)
More About Middlesex
Middlesex Health’s rheumatologists diagnose and treat many inflammatory diseases and conditions of the joints, muscles and soft tissues, including psoriatic arthritis. You can learn more here.
Sometimes, the medications needed to treat diseases, such as psoriatic arthritis, need to be given in an infusion center. Middlesex Health has two infusion centers in Middletown and Westbrook.
Acupuncture, a form of integrative medicine, can ease pain and help with stress management. (This could ultimately improve your golf game.) Acupuncture can also help if you are dealing with long COVID!
Middlesex Health is proud to announce that Middlesex Hospital has earned its sixth consecutive nursing Magnet® designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.