Rashes from Rheumatoid Arthritis: Is It Eczema, Psoriasis or Something Else?

Rashes from Rheumatoid Arthritis: Is It Eczema?

By Dr. Brent Wells (see bio below)

Itchy skin is one thing, but when sore joints accompany it, it can make your life miserable. You may have considered these two ailments to be completely separate and unrelated up to this point. Is there any possible way that one could be connected to the other?

Your dry skin is on the surface and arthritis stays hidden, but there is evidence that the two could be related. Find out more about these medical conditions (including rheumatoid vasculitis), their relationship to one another, and possible treatment options to get some relief.

Are Rashes from Rheumatoid Arthritis and Eczema Connected?

Any person that is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis is dealing with a health condition where the body attacks its own joints instead of fighting off bacteria and viruses like it’s supposed to. The result of the autoimmune disease is painful wrists, feet, ankles, and fingers.

However, that isn’t necessarily the only problem that surfaces. For some, because of the swelling of the joints, eczema can also be a symptom.

The skin above where the inflammation of the joints is occurring can become inflamed as well. It will get rough, itchy, bleed, and in severe cases, blisters may even form. More often than not, these two conditions appear separately.

Eczema is a skin condition that first appears in early childhood years for most patients and continues on throughout their lives. Sometimes though, an individual can get eczema as a result of their arthritis.

While there is still more research that needs to be done on the connection between arthritis and eczema, experts suggest that the red, itchy, and bumpy skin frequently shows up as an indicator that something related to the restriction in blood flow is happening beneath the surface.

Your Rheumatoid Arthritis and Itching Skin

You may have experienced rashes from rheumatoid arthritis at some point. The question is, where does it come from?

The inflammation that occurs when your body is going through a rheumatoid arthritis flare-up is what leads to rashes. These are called rheumatoid vasculitis. It’s prevalent in about only one percent of all people living with arthritis, and it often shows up on the legs.

With rheumatoid vasculitis, other symptoms can emerge including any level of severity from red or irritated skin all the way to an ulcer forming because of the reduced blood flow caused by the inflamed blood vessels. Some of the symptoms of rheumatoid vasculitis include:

  • Itchiness
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Various sized red patches

Traditional treatment options include topical steroid medications and oral prescription drugs. However, these don’t always provide the level of relief most people are looking for, especially when the symptoms of rashes from rheumatoid arthritis are more serious.

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriasis is a skin condition that is similar to eczema, but they have slight differences. Psoriasis generally has all the itchiness factor, but most people report it also feels like a sting or burn. Frequently, patients that have psoriasis will develop arthritis which is a condition called psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriasis or red patches of skin covered with silvery scales will appear first. Later, the stiffness, swelling, and joint pain will emerge. The final diagnosis is psoriatic arthritis which there is currently no cure for. The condition is chronic, and it will get worse as the years go by. Patients will experience times when the symptoms are worse and then periods of remission.

The symptoms and signs are very similar to someone who has rheumatoid arthritis, especially if they are suffering from eczema or other skin conditions at the same time. Only a medical doctor can determine whether you’re experiencing rashes from rheumatoid arthritis, so that an effective treatment plan can be put into place.

The Psoriasis Arthritis Symptoms to Watch For

If you are concerned about developing psoriatic arthritis, there are some symptoms to watch out for. First of all, if you have psoriasis already, that is the number one risk factor for getting psoriatic arthritis. Watch for lesions on the nails as a good indicator the ailment will most likely develop.

Family history and age are also determining factors. If you have a parent or sibling with the disease, you are more likely to acquire it as well. The condition usually is diagnosed most frequently in patients between the 30 and 50 years old.

Psoriatic Arthritis Versus Rheumatoid Arthritis: Are They The Same?

Psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are similar in they both involve your body mistakenly attacking your joints. However, with psoriatic arthritis, your skin is also going to suffer damages. Both have been proven to have genetic factors that are linked to being diagnosed with each disease.

The main difference is that with psoriatic arthritis you will always also be dealing with red, itchy, and painful skin. People living with Rheumatoid arthritis don’t always have the accompanied skin condition and may only have to deal with the painful joints.


ILW recommends: Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream to naturally heal itchy, irritated skin.

Chiropractic Care for Arthritic Conditions

Combining topical treatments with chiropractic treatments for arthritis pain could be the solution to overall better health and well-being for anyone suffering from both of these health conditions simultaneously. A qualified chiropractor can work with your medical care team to ensure your entire body is treated as a whole.

Through their experience and education, they know how to adjust and align the body to relieve pain caused by arthritis and for rashes from rheumatoid arthritis. The professionals can also provide you with recommendations on how to treat your symptoms with other non-invasive methods at home to live your best quality of life.

Bio: Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. is the founder of Better Health Chiropractic in Alaska and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using various services designed to help give you long-lasting relief.

Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe and Lifehack. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.

Works Cited

Eczema. (2016, August 15). Retrieved September 28, 2018, from Medline Plus: https://medlineplus.gov/eczema.html

Psoriatic arthritis. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2018, from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354076

Rheumatoid Arthritis. (2018, May 2). Retrieved September 28, 2018, from Medline Plus: https://medlineplus.gov/rheumatoidarthritis.html

Rheumatoid Vasculitis. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2018, from Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center: https://www.hopkinsvasculitis.org/types-vasculitis/rheumatoid-vasculitis/

Schmitt, J., Schwarz, K., Baurecht, H., Folster-Holst, R., Rodriguez, E., Lee, Y., et al. (2016, January). Atopic dermatitis is associated with an increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, and a decreased risk for type 1 diabetes. Retrieved September 28, 2018, from US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26253344

Dr. Brent Wells, D.C.

Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. has been a chiropractor for over 20 years and has treated thousands of patients. He founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998 and is a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe and Lifehack. He continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.


  1. Monica Ranson on April 11, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    After my Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis in 2009. I was put on Naprosyn and after some time i didn’t feel any different, so i started on a Natural RA Formula treatment protocol from RICH HERBS FOUNDATION (ww w. richherbsfoundation. com), the treatment effectively treated my Rheumatoid Arthritis condition. The swellings, stiffness, fatigue and joint/muscle/body pains has subsided, I feel better overall than i have felt in years. Its almost like a miracle!

  2. Henry Raymond Harvey on April 27, 2019 at 10:25 am

    hello i am 58 years old and have been dealing with eczema for 35 or so years . I wonder what is going on with my body from taking steroids for this long period of time . My fingernails look like something from outer space, seems like they are not connected to part of the finger at times and i loose finger pickup ability at times. My body has joint pane that pretty much stops me from wanting to move in order to not feel the pain hard to breath at times and getting worse as i age. Are you saying a chiropractor could help and that the Dr. may be able to diagnose my issues?

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