What is the difference between PsA and RA?

PsA and RA are both autoimmune conditions that damage joints, and cause symptoms such as swelling, stiffness and pain. Both these conditions manifest in flares and have similar treatments. So what is the difference between PsA and RA? You will find some notable differences in the table below.


Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Associated Skin Conditions


Nodules under the skin may be present

Joints Impacted

Pain, stiffness and swelling in any joint; involvement of distal joints closest to nails is characteristic.

Finger swelling (sausage digit) may occur in severe PsA cases.

PsA also causes pain on the sole of the foot or back of the heel.

Starts in small joints (e.g. fingers, toes) and over time impacts wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. Pain mostly felt in proximal joints just above the knuckles. Distal joints closest to nails not involved.

Part of the Spine Impacted

Lower back and neck


Nail Changes

Nail pitting, abnormalities

No nail changes

Symmetry of Symptoms

Asymmetric, symptoms often differ between the joints on both sides of the body

Symmetric, symptoms show up similarly in joints on both sides of the body

Sex differences

Affects men and women equally

More common in women

Presence of RF in blood