Phil Mickelson has been a top U.S. golf pro for 20 years, has 38 golf championships under his belt, and until recently saw himself as a healthy athlete. Now he conducts a campaign to educate the public on psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriasis is a fairly common chronic skin disease that shows up as red scaly patches. About 30% pf people with psoriasis go on to develop arthritis as a direct result of the inflammation components of the psoriasis, causing pain, swelling and stiffness in and around joints.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, psoriatic arthritis can develop at any time, but it most commonly appears between the ages of 30 and 50 and affects men at a higher rate than women. Genes, the immune system and environmental factors are all believed to play a role in the onset of the disease.
Steve DiMeglio, a journalist for USA Today, wrote an article about Phil Mickelson in which he describes the sports star as being unaware of the possibility that his chronic psoriasis could exacerbate into a debilitating joint disease. Mickelson began having discomfort in his right hand and wrist, noting that they felt sprained, but attributing it to the wear and tear of playing professional golf over two decades.
However, the pain progressed until the severity in his joints forced him to have to frequently lie down. That’s when Mickelson sought medical advice, and discovered he had a something called “psoriasis arthritis.”
Since early diagnosis and treatment for this disease are critical, Phil Mickelson has launched “On Course with Phil,” an education program dedicated to providing information on the symptoms and treatment for people who may be living with certain chronic inflammatory joint and skin conditions. Among those diseases are psoriatic arthritis (approximately 600,000 American adults have psoriatic arthritis), rheumatoid arthritis or plaque psoriasis.
A new website http://www.OnCourseWithPhil.com has been created to provide information. The program also includes the Joint Smart Coalition, a new effort between the Arthritis Foundation and the National Psoriasis Foundation, which are dedicated to educating people with chronic inflammatory conditions.
“The reason I have been successful in my treatment program is because I got on it right away,” said Mickelson, who has regained the 20% of strength he lost last year during the early stages of treatment.
Part of managing arthritis on a daily basis is making sure you don’t add more stress to already inflamed joints. For this reason, a simple management tool such as using my ergonomic UGLee Pen whenever you write will relax the joints in your fingers and wrist, thus preventing further inflammation and discomfort.
(Photo credit – oncoursewithphil.com)