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Does Arthritis Cause Skin Discoloration

What To Do If You Experience These Symptoms

Dermatology & Skin Diseases : Arthritis Skin Problems

These 8 symptoms are serious and can affect a patients long-term health and lifestyle. If you are a rheumatoid arthritis patient and are experiencing these symptoms it is important to make an appointment now with a rheumatologist. If you are in Illinois some of the best rheumatoid arthritis physicians are at IBJI. The rheumatic disease specialists at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute have spent their careers specializing in caring for diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Our physicians dedication makes IBJI the best choice for the treatment of all types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases.

*The blog is for general information and educational purposes only regarding musculoskeletal conditions. The information provided does not constitute the practice of medicine or other healthcare professional services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. Readers with musculoskeletal conditions should seek the advice of their healthcare professionals without delay for any condition they have. The use of the information is at the readers own risk. The content is not intended to replace diagnosis, treatment or medical advice from your treating healthcare professional.

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A Common Cause Of Vein Insufficiency Is Varicose Veins

Your veins may become varicose when they have been damaged due to faulty valves. When valves in your veins are functioning correctly, they allow the blood to pass through on its route back up to your heart. But when theyre faulty, they can prevent some of the blood from making that journey.

The blood that cant get through pools in your feet, ankles, and legs creating a thick, gnarled vein what we call a varicose vein. Although the effects ofvaricose veins are twisted and unsightly veins and discoloured ankles, its not just cosmetic damage thats taking place here. Pooling blood can cause edema , affecting the health of your skin and youre more likely to develop other issues with your veins, such as venous stasis ulcers.

Sometimes traumatic events involving your veins can lead to them becoming damaged and unable to return blood flow sufficiently back to your heart. Deep vein thrombosis , trauma from an injury, or certain surgical procedures can also cause damage and ankle discoloration.

The cause of your ankle discoloration is evaluated by using a color duplex ultrasound. This creates an image using soundwaves that enables Dr. Banda to see if there are any blood clots, changes to the blood vessels in your legs and ankles, and where there is reduced blood flow.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Cause A Range Of Skin Symptoms But Skin Problems Could Also Indicate You Have A Different Kind Of Arthritis To Begin With

Before the modern era of treating rheumatoid arthritis early with disease-modifying drugs, you could often guess that a person had RA just by looking at their skin. Long-term, severe rheumatoid arthritis damages small blood vessels throughout the body. This condition is called rheumatoid vasculitis, which shows up as bruising, pain, and sores on the skin. Another telltale sign of RA used to be rheumatoid nodules under the skin, often near affected joints.

We used to see nodules a lot, but these lumpy bumps about the consistency of a pencil eraser are getting less common with better therapy, says rheumatologist Kevin Deane, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

While, thankfully, these skin conditions are no longer as common as they used to be, many people with RA can develop skin problems that raise questions about whether and how they might be related to their arthritis.

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The 8 Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis That Should Watch Out


July 5, 2012 | Blog

Most people who suffer with rheumatoid arthritis know all about its primary symptom, joint stiffness and swelling. While this is the most common and noticeable symptom it is not the worst problem that RA patients can suffer. While managing pain is an important part of treating rheumatoid arthritis, a rheumatologist will treat more than just that. Any tissue in the body, not just the joints, can be affected by inflammation caused by RA. This means there are some serious symptoms and complications that any person with rheumatoid arthritis should watch out for.

A Sensation Of Prickling Or Numbness In Your Hands

Rheumatoid arthritis rash: Causes, symptoms, and images

If your hands feel like theyre burning or numb, it may be a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome , which is a problem with the nerve that runs from the wrist to the fingers. CTS often occurs in people who have RA, according to CreakyJoints. Talk to your physician right away if you notice changes in how your hands feel. Theres no reason to live with pain or discomfort from CTS, and treatment helps preserve hand function. CTS treatment may include wrist splints worn at night, steroid injections, adjustments to RA medication, or less commonly, surgery that helps release the pressure on the nerves in the hands.

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If You Have Unexplained Bruises On Your Skin It Could Be Linked With Having Rheumatoid Arthritis Learn More About The Connection And How To Prevent And Treat Bruises Related To Ra

Rheumatoid arthritis and bruising commonly occur in tandem for a variety of reasons. If youve noticed blue, black, and green spots popping up randomly on your legs, you may feel less comfortable in your own skin . Bruising is often a mystery to people with RA who wake up with new bruises without knowing the cause.

I get bruises from time to time and have no idea why, CreakyJoints community member Stephanie A. shared on . I have three bruises right now on the inside of my thigh. Always a mystery.

Skin abnormalities were reported by 61 percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis compared to just 47 percent of people who had non-inflammatory rheumatic conditions in a study in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. Bruising was one of the skin issues that was more commonly reported by people with RA than controls, though it was connected to the use of steroid medications.

Many members of our community report experiencing bruising on their thighs or around trouble spots for their joints.

I remember waking up with a bruise on my right wrist where I have the most joint destruction in high school, then it went away, community member Effie K. told us on . Thought I hit myself somewhere or bruised it while playing a sport. It was happening other places too.

Because several factors play a role in the link between bruising and rheumatoid arthritis, its important to speak to your doctor if youre experiencing frequent or easy bruising to determine the cause.

Broken Or Brittle Bones

Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with a loss in bone mineral density,17,18 which is the hallmark sign of osteoporosis. In fact, osteoporosis is considered typical in people who have had rheumatoid arthritis for a long time.19

Certain medications can also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis and its precursor, osteopenia. For example, prednisone and other corticosteroids, which may be prescribed to treat newly diagnosed RA and RA flares, are associated with a loss of bone mineral density.20

Osteoporosis causes bones to become porous and weaker. Osteoporotic bones are:

  • More prone to breaking
  • Less suitable for joint replacement or other orthopedic surgeries

A bone break can have a negative effect on joint mechanics, even after the bone has healed, increasing the risk for osteoarthritis.

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Is It Ra And Eczema Or Is It Psoriatic Arthritis

The skin condition psoriasis can lead to psoriatic arthritis . RA and PsA symptoms are similar, which can make it difficult for doctors to tell the difference between the two conditions.

Also, they sometimes incorrectly diagnose psoriasis as eczema. As a consequence, some people receive a diagnosis of RA and eczema when they really have PsA, and vice versa.

A dermatologist can help determine whether a rash is due to eczema or psoriasis. Diagnosis often involves a blood test, and it sometimes involves a skin biopsy.

General guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology to prevent itchy skin include:

  • bathing in lukewarm, not hot, water
  • limiting showers and baths to up to 10 minutes
  • using fragrance-free soap, lotions, and laundry detergents
  • wearing loose-fitting clothes made of cotton
  • avoiding wool clothing, which can irritate the skin and cause itching
  • avoiding extreme changes in temperature, when possible
  • keeping the home relatively cool
  • using a humidifier in winter, especially for people who are prone to eczema or have dry skin
  • reducing stress whenever possible, as stress can make itchy skin worse

If a doctor determines that a medication is causing itching, they may recommend a different treatment.

For some people with RA, tofacitinib may help treat chronic itch. Tofacitinib is a Janus kinase inhibitor that doctors sometimes prescribe to treat RA or PsA.

Simple home remedies can help many cases of itchy skin. The AAD recommend the following tips:

Wear Gloves When Working With Your Hands

What are arthritis skin lesions

This includes housework, yard work, and home repairs. Any time you irritate your skin or nails, psoriasis can flare. When doing wet work like washing dishes, its best to wear a cotton glove and then place a vinyl or nitrile glove over it. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, latex gloves dont give your nails enough protection. Keeping nails dry can also make infections less likely.

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Cutaneous Adverse Effects Of Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis

The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis can cause side effects involving the skin.

Disease modifying antirheumatic drugs used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis include methotrexate, azathioprine, leflunamide, ciclosporin, and hydroxychloroquine. Skin side effects are well documented.

There are many new and emerging treatments for rheumatoid arthritis including biological treatments, Janus kinase inhibitors, rituximab , tocilizumab with their associated cutaneous side effects. Tumour necrosis factor inhibitors are biologic agents used widely for treatment-resistant rheumatoid arthritis. Many cutaneous side effects have been reported with their use in rheumatoid arthritis including psoriasis, dermatitis, leukocytoclastic vasculitis, lichenoid drug eruptions, and non-infectious cutaneous granulomatous reactions, such as disseminatedgranuloma annulare, sarcoidosis-like lesions, and interstitial granulomatous dermatitis.

Dermatological side effects of tumour necrosis factor inhibitors

Can Psoriatic Arthritis Affect Other Parts Of The Body

Having psoriatic arthritis can put you at risk of developing other conditions and complications around the body.

The chances of getting one of these are rare. But its worth knowing about them and talking to your doctor if you have any concerns.


Seek urgent medical attention if one or both of your eyes are red and painful, particularly if you have a change in your vision. You could go to your GP, an eye hospital, or your local A& E department.

These symptoms could be caused by a condition called uveitis, which is also known as iritis. It involves inflammation at the front of the eye.

This can permanently damage your eyesight if left untreated.

Other symptoms are:

  • blurred or cloudy vision
  • sensitivity to light
  • not being able to see things at the side of your field of vision known as a loss of peripheral vision
  • small shapes moving across your field of vision.

These symptoms can come on suddenly, or gradually over a few days. It can affect one or both eyes. It can be treated effectively with steroids.


Psoriatic arthritis can put you at a slightly higher risk of having a heart condition. You can reduce your risk by:

  • not smoking
  • staying at a healthy weight
  • exercising regularly
  • eating a healthy diet, thats low in fat, sugar and salt
  • not drinking too much alcohol.

These positive lifestyle choices can help to improve your arthritis and skin symptoms.

Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your heart health.

Crohns disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

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Past Research And Achievements In This Area

In 2015, research led by our centre for genetics and genomics at the University of Manchester identified genetic variants associated with psoriatic arthritis, but not with psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis. This helped to establish psoriatic arthritis as a condition in its own right. The findings could lead to the development of drugs specifically for psoriatic arthritis.

Later in the same year, our TICOPA trial looked at the benefits of early aggressive drug treatment for people with psoriatic arthritis followed by an increase in drug dosage if initial treatment isnt working. The trial found that patients treated this way, required fewer hospital- and community-based services than patients receiving the standard care.

Treatment For Psoriatic Arthritis

Causes of Skin Discoloration

Treatment for psoriatic arthritis aims to:

  • relieve symptoms
  • slow the condition’s progression
  • improve quality of life

This usually involves trying a number of different medicines, some of which can also treat the psoriasis. If possible, you should take 1 medicine to treat both your psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

The main medicines used to treat psoriatic arthritis are:

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • biological therapies

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How Will Psoriatic Arthritis Affect Me

Starting the right treatment as soon as possible will give you the best chance of keeping your arthritis under control and minimise damage to your body.

Psoriatic arthritis can vary a great deal between different people. This makes it difficult to offer advice on what you should expect.

It will usually have some effect on your ability to get around and your quality of life, but treatment will reduce the effect it has.

Psoriatic arthritis can cause long-term damage to joints, bones and other tissues in the body, especially if it isnt treated.

How To Reduce The Appearance Of Bruising

Although it can be indicative of other health issues, bruising on its own isnt necessarily dangerous. However, it can take a toll on your self-esteem if bruises are large and frequent.

Bruising easily is a symptom that can be associated with lots of different problems, so even if youre pretty sure its happening because of rheumatoid arthritis or medications, bring it up with your doctor to be sure, suggests Mariah. I certainly understand how excessive bruising can impact a persons self esteem it didnt make me feel particularly good about my body but the alternative of getting off the prednisone wasnt practical until I found another treatment that could control my pain and fatigue.

There are a few ways you can prevent or reduce the appearance of bruising. The Mayo Clinic recommends following RICE techniques:

  • Rest: If possible, rest the bruised area.
  • Ice: Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply to the bruised area for 10 to 20 minutes. Repeat several times per day for one to two days.
  • Compress: If the bruised area is swollen, use an elastic bandage to compress it.
  • Elevate: Raise the injured area.

Theres been some interest in rutin , which may be helpful for conditions in which blood vessels are lacking in support, says Dr. Saardi. Some people have try vitamin K ointment to help with bruising after dermatological procedures. There have been some studies that a compound in vitamin K ointment can resolve bruising a little more quickly.

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Chest Pain Or A Racing Pounding Heart

Inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis may worsen or trigger heart problems. These heart problems include, but may not be limited to:

  • Coronary heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease or clogged arteries, is 1.5 to 2 times more common in people with RA than in the general population.9 Coronary heart disease can lead to heart attack and stroke. It can cause a variety of symptoms, including shortness of breath and tightness in the chest, especially during physical activity.
  • Pericarditis is inflammation of the delicate membrane that surrounds the heart, called the pericardium. Pericarditis can cause sudden chest pain and may be mistaken for a heart attack.
  • Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle itself. It can cause damage to heart tissue anddepending on severity and treatmentmay be life-threatening. Myocarditis symptoms vary and may include fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling , and chest pain. The heart may feel like it is racing, fluttering, or pounding.

A physician may refer to any one of these conditions as cardiovascular disease, which is an umbrella term used for all types of diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in the United States.

Eye Dryness Irritation Pain Or Blurred Vision

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Several conditions that affect the eyes are associated with rheumatoid arthritis. These conditions may be temporary or life-long and can cause a wide range of symptoms.

  • Sjögrens syndrome can cause dry eye as well as dry mouth. This condition affects the bodys ability to produce saliva and tears. About 30% of people with RA develop Sjögrens syndrome.1
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca2,3 affects 15% to 25% of people with RA.4 This condition occurs when the eyes cannot produce enough tears. The lack of moisture may cause eyes to feel dry, irritated, itchy, burning, and/or sensitive to light.
  • Episcleritis2 can cause eye irritation, redness, and swelling. Episcleritis may only affect one small part of an eyeball. The affected area may appear raised, red, and/or yellowish. This condition typically goes away on its own, but it can be treated medically.
  • Scleritis2,3 can cause deep aching pain in the eye. The eye may water excessively and be sensitive to light. Part or all of the eye may become discolored, appearing red or purple. This is an uncommon but serious condition that can permanently affect vision.
  • Keratitis,2,3 or inflammation of the cornea, can cause blurred vision and sensitivity to bright light. It may feel like there is something stuck in the eye.

Report changes in vision to a health care provider immediately.

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