What is Arthritis Mutilans?
This rare type of arthritis can sometimes lead to deformities in the hands and feet and can often be painful as it tends to impact the larger nerves in these areas of the body. Arthritis Mutilans is a rare autoimmune disorder and often develops among people who have psoriasis. As the condition becomes worse, the tissue located in the bones begins to deteriorate. Most of the time, the condition impacts your hands more than your feet.
Similar to a general case of arthritis, your range of motion will begin to decrease, especially in your fingers. Your joints will begin to feel stiff and weak, eventually leading to deterioration and brittleness of the bone. Once the bone has deteriorated, it will be difficult to straighten the joints. This can lead to crooked fingers and toes, therefore making it difficult to perform everyday tasks. Your joints will get shorter, making the skin in those areas appear loose.
Arthritis mutilans is among the most severe disorders in the family of psoriatic arthritis. Before understanding the details of arthritis mutilans, you should familiarize yourself with the process of psoriatic arthritis and how it develops in your body. This type of arthritis is common among those who have or have had psoriasis. Your body sees your healthy cells as foreign and will start to attack them. The characteristics of psoriasis usually include a rash or scaly patches of skin. As the condition takes over, the joints in your body become inflamed, making it difficult to move them. Prolonged inflammation will persist if it goes untreated which can lead to further deterioration of your joints. Diagnosis of arthritis mutilans usually comes when the bones begin to deteriorate.
It’s difficult to know who will develop this condition and when it will occur after you have developed arthritis. If you don’t experience symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, then you’re chances of developing arthritis mutilans are low. Obesity could be a cause of the condition, especially if you were obese as a child. A family history of the condition is also a good indicator for developing it in the future.
Many of those diagnosed with arthritis mutilans are unaware of their psoriasis in the past. You’ll usually notice signs of psoriasis before you develop arthritis. Often times this means that you don’t put the two conditions together as being related to each other. In order to determine if you have arthritis mutilans, your doctor will need to perform a few tests. The purpose is to see if you have arthritis in general. Part of the testing includes examining your joints and bones to determine if there is any inflammation present. Once the tests are complete, your doctor will give you a diagnosis as to whether or not you have arthritis. Detection of the medical condition sometimes requires blood work. The test scans for any antibodies that may be present which can associate with arthritis. In addition, an X-ray can get a better look at the bones in the joints.
Further blood tests can determine which type of arthritis you have. You could have rheumatoid arthritis as well as one of the many other types instead of arthritis mutilans. If your doctor has made a diagnosis of arthritis but doesn’t see any of the other markers for mutilans, then there is a good indication that you do have arthritis mutilans simply because there’s no marker in place for the condition as of yet. Your doctor will look at your joints to view the level of deterioration to determine the severity of the condition and to make a proper diagnosis so that treatments can begin.
Since arthritis mutilans progresses at a rapid rate compared to other autoimmune disorders, it’s important to try to begin some kind of treatment as soon as possible. Although treatments likely won’t stop the progression of the disease completely, they can slow it down so it doesn’t take away complete mobility. You can treat your symptoms rather than the condition itself with various types of anti-inflammatories and anti-TNF inhibitors. Depending on the severity of the condition, you may need to use a combination of treatments. If you can keep the inflammation down, then it can often reduce some of the pain that you experience from the condition. Physical therapy can sometimes have a positive impact as it can help with maintaining the mobility in your joints for as long as possible.
Long Term Impacts
Delay of treatment for arthritis mutilans can lead to immobility, resulting in long-term or permanent disability. Treatment after diagnosis lessens your chances of bone loss. Keep in mind that once bone tissue is lost it can not be restored. As long as you continue with the treatments that are prescribed, you can usually maintain the use of the joints in your fingers, hands, and wrists as well as the movement in your feet and toes.
Since the disease is difficult to diagnose, it can be hard to prevent it from occurring at all. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to try to minimize your risks of developing the condition Try to maintain a healthy weight so that there isn’t a lot of extra pressure on your joints. Routine exercise can also help in keeping your joints as mobile as possible. Once you begin treatment, try to avoid drinking and smoking as it can help your body respond to the treatments that are provided. Once you notice that the symptoms associated with your arthritis begin to improve, then you’ll usually notice that the symptoms associated with the mutilans component of the disease will ease as well. Try to get as much information about your family history as possible if you know that psoriasis has been an issue or if arthritis has been an issue as the conditions are genetic. Talk to your doctor if you find out that there is a history so that tests can be conducted routinely to detect the condition as early as possible in order to begin treatments sooner.
If you found this article on arthritis mutilans, you may be interested in reading Pustular Psoriasis: Types, Triggers and Treatment