Ankylosing spondylitis/AS is a common type of arthritis that can cause damage to spinal structures, body parts, and organs. Ankylosing spondylitis causes inflammation in the spine’s ligaments and joints which can cause affected vertebrae to fuse, but other symptoms/complications are skin disorders. Ankylosing spondylitis flare-ups can present with skin disorders like rashes and the possible development of skin diseases like psoriasis.
The inflammation causes back stiffness and pain that causes the spine to become inflexible and rigid. The vertebrae can fuse in extreme cases.
- It is typically seen in the early adult population as back pain and hip pain.
- Symptoms are more common in individuals between 17 and 45.
- Men are more likely to be affected than women.
- Genetics can play a role in this condition.
Doctors utilize multiple approaches to relieve symptoms and manage the condition through combined exercise, chiropractic, physical therapy, diet, and stress management to help improve quality of life.
A flare-up can present as a skin rash but can also affect the skin in other ways that include:
- Rashes brought on by medication treatments.
- Trouble healing from incisions after surgery.
- Psoriasis presents as red skin patches appearing anywhere on the body.
- The most common areas are the scalp, palms, elbows, and knees.
- The affected skin can itch, become tender, and can also sting and burn.
- Some psoriasis outbreaks result in lesions or blisters.
Ankylosing Spondylitis vs. Psoriatic Arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis are related and come under spondyloarthritis/SpA rheumatic disease.
- Ankylosing spondylitis is typically localized to the spine, whereas psoriatic arthritis can affect almost any joint in the body and presents with tendinopathy.
- Some individuals with AS can begin to develop psoriasis.
Doctors are currently treating psoriasis with multiple treatment options that can include:
- Topical agents such as vitamin D analogs.
- Corticosteroids can help with pain and swelling.
- Non-steroidal topical agents can be used for facial and flexible body parts like the armpits, elbows, and back of the knees.
- Light/phototherapy using narrow-band UV-B light.
- Medications can also help but can produce side effects.
Ankylosing spondylitis skin disorders present ongoing challenges. However, increasing treatment options are helping to minimize the condition’s impact to a better quality of life.
AS Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
Meier, Katharina, et al. “Skin manifestations in spondyloarthritis.” Therapeutic advances in musculoskeletal disease vol. 12 1759720X20975915. 8 Dec. 2020, doi:10.1177/1759720X20975915
Myers, Elisha et al. “An Update on Narrowband Ultraviolet B Therapy for the Treatment of Skin Diseases.” Cureus vol. 13,11 e19182. 1 Nov. 2021, doi:10.7759/cureus.19182
National Institutes of Health. (n.d.) “Ankylosing spondylitis.” www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/ankylosing-spondylitis
Ye, Chao, and Wenyuan Li. “Cutaneous vasculitis in a patient with ankylosing spondylitis: A case report.” Medicine vol. 98,3 (2019): e14121. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000014121
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