August 12th, 2010
05:56 PM ET

Mickelson playing through pain of psoriatic arthritis

Phil Mickelson is beginning his quest for the 2010 PGA championship and he's playing with the pain of  psoriatic arthritis. He revealed his condition on Tuesday.

Mickelson says he experienced his first symptoms of the potentially debilitating disease five days before the U.S. Open began two months ago.

Dr. Christopher Ritchlin, professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, says 80 percent of people who get psoriatic arthritis tend to have psoriasis first. He says patients usually have psoriasis for 10 years before also developing arthritis. Patients usually get psoriatic arthritis between the ages of 20 and 50 but children can get it too.

Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes itchy or sore patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales. The patches usually develop on elbows, knees, scalp, back, face, palms and feet, but they can show up on other parts of your body.  Psoriasis can be very mild or severe, which determines whether the condition develops into arthritis or not.

Dr. John Klippel, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation says psoriatic arthritis causes inflammation and joints become swollen, red and very painful.

It appears Mickelson's arthritis was diagnosed early, which means it can be treated before joint damage occurs. If this disease goes undiagnosed for a long time, it can cause severe or irreparable damage to the joints.

Patients usually have joint pain at their wrists, ankles or knees. They can also experience painful swelling and stiffness and back pain in the morning. Other symtoms of psoriatic arthitis include swelling of fingers. Some patients also have a family history of the disease.

There are several different forms of therapy for people who have psoriatic arthritis, including non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen or prescription anti-inflammatory drugs), disease modifying drugs like methotrixate and new biologic drugs called TNFs or tumor necrosis factor inhibitors.

TNFs are a fairly new class of drugs that were first introduced in 1999, for treatment of skin and joints. Klippel says TNFs are one of the most advanced therapies in decades. It's a drug that targets a single molecule to stop the destruction of the joint and also works well treating the skin. TNF drugs are called Enbrel, Humira, Remicade and Simponi, Ritchlin says, and all are effective for treating psoriatic arthritis. “People feel their joint inflammation and pain gets better when they are on this therapy, within a matter of days, and for some the disease goes into total remission,” Klippel adds.

Mickelson, 40, told reporters on Tuesday that he’s taking medication and is optimistic about his health.

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Mike Belitz

    Phil –
    I have a good friend who suffered from the same affliction. Today this is completely cured. She would love to share this info with you if you want it. Contact me at the email address if you wish it.

    Best regards, and play well

    Mike Belitz

    August 12, 2010 at 23:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. mary

    hang in there ph[l. those of us who love you are with you. god will get you through these trying times. you are already number one in more ways then one

    August 12, 2010 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Cora Tammi

    I got rid of my psoriasis with vitamins. Total B vitamins (Stress formula), 400 IU vitamin E and 2 capsules halibut liver oil containing 400 IU D2 and 10,000 IU Vitamin A – once a day. I keep it under control with all of the above, but with half the halibut liver oil. I don't know if the cure I got from this would work for the arthritis or not, but It might be worth a try. Find a good naturopath!

    August 12, 2010 at 23:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Rod

    Don't listen to anyone who says there is a cure. There is no cure and it's irresponsible if not fraudulent to suggest otherwise. I suffer from the disease myself and learned the hard way not to trust any snake oil salesmen (some women too).

    August 13, 2010 at 03:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kari

      I've had psoriatic arthritis since I was 9 and I am now turning 40 next month. There is no cure. I take care of myself and stay active, receive weekly injections of methotrexate and Humira. I still get flareups especially with stress and a decrease in barometric pressure. I could move out of Alaska, but wouldn't want to. Good luck to all with PSA, its a tough disease.

      August 20, 2010 at 19:14 | Report abuse |
  5. turnerBroadcasting

    There is a lot of research going on , in the inflammation response. Although there is no cure for this thing yet, the symptoms can be managed + within 20 years, there will likely be a cure. This type of thing doesn't work too fast and he's catching it early so I'm hoping we'll get a chance to walk the course with him in Atlanta at the PGA Championship next year and watch the Mick dominate

    August 16, 2010 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Andy in Austin

    This is a sadly underfunded disease. No "sure things" though lots of advances to make improvements. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is particularly devastating because it impacts people (children) whose ability to understand the science/reason is so limited. Just the fact that JRA has been renamed JIA (where the I=idiopathic=from an obscure or unknown cause) is reason for concern.

    August 16, 2010 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Nanci

    My mother had this same disease come on suddenly when she was in her early forty's. She was on every medication, skin cream, steroird, enbrel, humira, remicade and methotrexate. She has been struggling with this disease for some 20 odd years now. She is currently end-stage chirrhosis due to the long term affects of the methotrexate and pain meds..this is a terribly debilitating disease that wears not only the person out but the family as well. I wish the best to Phil and his family.

    August 18, 2010 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Leonore

    I also suffer from this disease, which manifested itself on my skin when I was 3 yrs old. I am now 42, and was diagnosed in '09 with psoriatic arthritis. Some days are ok, as I am always feeling some pain, but then there are the really bad days. When I have those days, life is difficult, on those days doing things I need to do is impossible. I was on Humira for a year with a little success, so my Dr switched my med to Enbrel. It has given me a little better result, but I still have too many issues. I also take an oral anti-inflamatory and Tylenol as well. God speed for a cure!

    June 12, 2011 at 02:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. lincoln mercury

    Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I'll be subscribing to your feed and I am hoping you write once more very soon!

    June 30, 2012 at 08:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elaine

      I have the illnesses below and maegand to have a son*diabetes *lung disease*psoriasis *muscle degeneration*ibs *anaemiaTry to keep your muscles and joints working and as pain free as you can, take glucosamine vitamin tablets to help the joints muscles folic acid to raise your iron levels.Count the first day of your period as DAY1 and have sex as much as possible on DAYS 10 16 as this is your most fertile daysTry not to think of sex as the means to getting pregnant you need to remember that it is your relationship that also needs time effort and care because a strong relationship can help you beat anything no matter what

      October 13, 2012 at 23:36 | Report abuse |
  10. joy

    i can not believe that my psoriasis his cured thank god
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    September 19, 2015 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Emaa

    I have been suffering from Psoriatic arthritis for quite a while now. A friend recommended PeaPlex. I saw this product on RS4supplements.com and I ordered it and it’s very helpful for me. You should try it.

    February 12, 2018 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
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