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Psoriatic Arthritis Sufferer, Phil Mickelson, PGA Champ

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

Phil Mickelson Golfing

Photo Courtesy of Google

Photo Courtesy of Google

Mickelson Announces Diagnosis Psoriatic Arthritis

Phil Mickelson, who just turned 40, was recently diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, which is a painful arthritic autoimmune disease. As one of the best PGA golfers, this disease could obviously impact his game in a major way. His life has been rough over the past year or two as his wife and mother are both fighting breast cancer.

Mickelson is close to replacing Tiger Woods as the #1 golfer, and hopefully, this disease won’t be a set back in his golf results, which he has worked hard to earn. He announced a few days ago his diagnosis describing how it began. It was five days before the US Open when he woke up in intense pain in his tendons and joints which left him unable to move.

The treatment initially included stretching, walking and anti-inflammatory drugs alleviated the pain. He did manage to play golf at Pebble Beach coming in fourth. Phil finally discusses his psoriatic arthritis in Arthritis Today. Phil's knees and hips ached, and his shoulder hurt so much he could not lift his arm above his head.

He stated" There were was a lot of uncertainty, I was pretty worried. I didn't know about the long-term future; I didn't know where my immediate future held. The mind tends to wander. Mine certainly did."

Phil Mickelson Announcement

Phil Went to Mayo Clinic for Help

However, his condition continued to progress spreading to his knees, hips and elbows. After the tournament, he made a trip to the Mayo Clinic where the diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis was confirmed, and he was placed on a medication often used in Rheumatoid arthritis called Enbrel. This drug depresses the immune system and has been very effective in treating Mickelson’s symptoms

How Joint Damage Works


Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis typically occurs in your '40s to ’50s and is linked with psoriasis. The skin disease precedes the joint disease in 80% of the patients, but arthritis may precede psoriasis in 15% of the population for up to 20 years.

Like most autoimmune diseases there is no cure, just treatment for the symptoms. Phil chose to change to a vegetarian diet with this diagnosis to see if that would help which was surprising to some as he was a bit of a burger connoisseur.

Symptoms of this disease include:

  • Swelling of an entire finger or toe, to the size of a sausage
  • General stiffness and joint pain
  • Swollen joints
  • Back pain, plus stiffness anywhere from the neck to lower back
  • Raised red patches, often with a silvery scale known as a psoriatic skin lesion
  • Changes in the finger and toenails with pitting is seen in 90% of psoriatic arthritis patients.

The medication Enbrel which seems to be giving up much relief treats both skin and joint symptoms. It is a medication which is self-injected and it works on the immune system to slow the growth of excess skin cells and to reduce joint pain. Like any medication that suppresses your immune system, the patient is more susceptible to infections which is always a concern.

Mickelson Family

In his Arthritis Today article, Bill confessed it'd been a tough couple of years after he learned of his psoriatic arthritis, and he has been living with the emotional stress of his wife's breast cancer. His wife, Amy, took on her illness in a way that was inspiring to Phil which sparked him to take on his disease without delay. He learned it was important for him to start treatment without delay to avoid permanent damage to his joints. Severe stress can be a trigger for psoriatic arthritis but it isn't the cause.

This arthritis has a genetic component and now he knows he probably had it in a dormant state for many years. He thought that he just had normal aches and pains of an athlete as he was getting older. There was one other thing which was an occasional flaky, itchy scalp that he didn't really think much about. However, the pain and itchy scalp are both telltale signs of psoriatic arthritis that flared for Phil the first time the week before the U.S. Open last June 2010. He played in excruciating pain to that tournament. Four days later the family went to Hawaii and his pain at night was so debilitating he could hardly move.

He stated," I didn't know arthritis could be that debilitating." After he sought treatment at the Mayo Clinic his condition improved enough for he could pick up a golf club and play again. He stated," I like where I am physically and in a and am optimistic about 2011". He is aware that his condition is going to be a part of his life from here on, but it is treatable. His doctor, Dr. Matteson, states they are hoping for remission – not a cure – which is the right goal for now.

The Mickelson family has certainly suffered more than their fair share of health problems over the past couple of years. Apparently the prognosis for the women is good as they go through treatment. I would wonder if the stress of having two people he dearly loves fighting cancer, not to mention playing golf in front of millions of fans, might have had an impact on him getting this disease at this time.

We wish the best for Phil Mickelson and his family.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

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Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 17, 2012:

Thank you for your comment.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 17, 2012:

Thank you.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 17, 2012:

shaefercd, Thank you so much for your comments and spreading the message about the hub. Good luck with your health. Phil is the type of man most people like. Peace to you as well.

Shaefercd from Canastota, NY, United States on January 16, 2012:

Hello Pamela99,

Phil is one of my favorite golfers, even though he is a lefty. I am a psoriasis sufferer also so I really appreciated your publication. Threw ya a tweet and a google+ vote too.



Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 22, 2010:

Nancy, I hope he will recover also. Thanks for your comment.

nancy_30 from Georgia on September 22, 2010:

Great hub. It's sad that his family has been through so much. Hopefully the medicine will help him and he will be able to continue to play.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 18, 2010:

MPG, I agree that he deserves to be #1. Thanks for your comments.

Maria Giunta from Sydney, Australia on August 18, 2010:

Such a debilitating disease, I wish Phil Mickelson well with both his health and his golf. He deserves to be #1. Thanks for an informative hub, Pamela.

Roberta99 on August 14, 2010:

I have alwayss admired Phil Mickelson. I certainly pray he will become the #1 golfer. He certainly deserves it.

Hope all their health will improve.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 14, 2010:

Lorie, I didn't see you there for a minute. This is truly sad for an athlete and my hope is they will come up with a cure. I know about pain also as I have lupus and osteoarthritis and now after 51 years they are actually going to put a medication on the market that treats the disease of lupus. I wish you blessing for your hips and thanks so much for your comments.

Nellieanna, I agree with you about golf being one of the most civilized games and this is a sad story. Thanks so much for your comments.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on August 14, 2010:

So sad. My George was a life-long golfer and golf fan. I know this would have personally saddened his heart. I am sad for Phil and his family, too - as well as the PGA and the game itself. It's one of the most civilized of all games and has my highest regard. Thanks for your hub, Pamela. Well done.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 14, 2010:

Support Med, I believe in miracle and with there recent family medical history a miracle would be nice. Thanks so much for your comments.

Support Med. from Michigan on August 14, 2010:

Stress can definitely bring on a myriad of symptoms and diseases. Even this disease in general, arthritis, knows no age limit as my sis had it while in elementary school. She has since outgrown it. Although he may be a burger connoisseur, he is obviously determined to beat the disease, and I hope his determination prevails. It would also be nice when meds can be used which do not depress the immune system. Wishing him and his family the best. Miracles do happen. Voted/rated.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 14, 2010:

Miata, It is a tough disease and some types of arthritis can even attack children. Thanks for your comments.

prettydarkhorse from US on August 14, 2010:

Oh, this is sad Pamela, he is a good family man and a great golfer. Hope all things goes well for him yes he has enough loads already. Thanks BTW for the added knowledge about the psoriatic arthritis. He is very young, 40 to have arthritis. Maita

Laurel Rogers from Bishop, Ca on August 14, 2010:

Coming from a family of golfers, I can't imagine a worse scenario. Oh, Pamela, how critical the joints, the tendons, the ligaments are-in such a sport. He's in the prime of his life with his women ill as well...and all of this at once. What a 'treatable' tragedy I hope to see succeeding for this family.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

And prayers all around.

My personal take on it is different because my hips have degenerative joints which will never be treatable other than surgically. They will deteriorate. No doubt.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 13, 2010:

Audry, I feel your concern also. Thanks for your comment.

50 Caliber, I'm glad you brother is okay also. Sometimes childhood arthritis doesn't go away and the pain it difficult to deal with. I'm sure glad you stopped in and I appreciate your comments.

Jens' solitude, I hope so to. It just goes to show you that you never know what can happen from one day to the next. Thanks for your comments.

Wife Who Saves, The really have suffered and I am glad to hear that the medicine is helping him. We need a cure for these diseases. Thanks for your comment.

K9keystrokes, I think Phil is probably a very good man and he has certainly stood by his wife and mother through their diseases. I hope he overcomes and becomes #1. Thanks for your comments.

India Arnold from Northern, California on August 13, 2010:

Wow Pam, lupus? This is one of those hidden troubles that is more painful becausse it is so quiet in its work. My prayers and heartfelt good wishes are at your disposal.

Phil is a much admired golfer and capturing the title away from a less than loyal competitor would be outstanding. Possibly the roar of the cat has been muffled by bad behavior? It would seem that Phil is a very good human!

Thanks for writing on such a silent disorder and sharing your own battle, you are amazing.


Wife Who Saves on August 13, 2010:

His family sure has suffered. I hope that the medicine works to restore his quality of life. Thank you for sharing this.

Jen's Solitude from Delaware on August 13, 2010:

I wondered why he wasn't playing like his usual self until I heard about this diagnosis. His family has surely been through some very tough medical issues. I hope he can still be successful in becoming the number 1 player. Thanks for the details about his diseases.

50 Caliber from Arizona on August 13, 2010:

Pam, thanks for the details of this disease. I don't watch the TV at all so I miss out on many issues like this unless they show on a web news page. I find it amazing that one can wake up one morning and it has set in upon them. Way back when, my little brother woke up with great pain in his knees and claimed he couldn't walk. My father called bull and accused him of trying to get out of going to school. After a bit,Pops finally gave in and took him to the Doc. (1950s) and the doc said there was nothing wrong. That set off a whole round of stuff, ultimately he ended up in the city at a large hospital that diagnosed arthritis as the culprit. I remember his stay was close to 3 weeks before he was released. The medicine caused free bleeding and as kids a little rough housing and he'd end up with a bloody nose that seemed like it would never stop. It was before all the different strains of arthritis were identified. He ultimately ended up free of it in a couple of years, I always expected it to come back on him but at 55 he still is doing fine.

So I hope they will help this golfer achieve his dream, 50

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on August 13, 2010:

I so love, Phil - geez - it seems that he has just had his tribulations but what a TRUE role model he is. Thanks for bringing this to our attention - I had not heard this. Well done!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 13, 2010:

JY, I sure hope it doesn't either. Hopefully they will develop a cure. Thanks for commenting.

Steve, I hope he gets to #1 too. Thanks for your comment.

Steve 3.0 from Cornwall UK on August 13, 2010:

JY3502, don't worry, Lots of people have psoriasis without getting this.

I hope he gets to No.1 and this doesn't hinder his game too much.

John Young from Florence, South Carolina on August 13, 2010:

I have a severe case of psoriasis. I hope it doesn't progress to that.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 13, 2010:

MartyWare, This is really a tough disease. Thanks for sharing this information and for your comments.

MartyWare from New South Wales Australia on August 13, 2010:

I knew a young lady who had the same disease. She was a pro surfer and won 3 world title.

Her name was Pauline Mencer!

Some days she could hardly move.

But she still did it.

Marty Ware

The SEO DAD & the creator of the Hubpages Tribe

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 13, 2010:

ecoggins, I'm sure many people feel much compassion for his situation. Thanks for your comment.

Habee, I agree. Thanks for your comment.

Holle Abee from Georgia on August 12, 2010:

I hate to hear this. His family sure has been through a lot.

ecoggins from Corona, California on August 12, 2010:

This is great sadness. Generally, I like watching Mickelson on tour. Coupled with his wife and mother's breast cancer troubles, this had to be devastating news.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 12, 2010:

Hello, That is so true of so many autoimmune disorders. Unless I am very anemic or exhausted no one can tell I have lupus for example. I appreciate your comments.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on August 12, 2010:

When you look at the pictures; you wouldn't there is anything wrong with him. He looks a picture of health. A terrible shame to have so much tragedy. It always makes me so angry when I see idiots taking drugs and there are people fighting for their lives. Thank for writing this hub to inform us.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 12, 2010:

Tom, Thanks so much for adding a bit of information and for your comments.

Robert, I sorry to hear about your sister. Thanks for your comment.

DiamondRN I agree that he is a role model and I hate that he has that horrible disease. Thanks for your comments.

Katiem, I agree with your wonderful comment whole heartedly. I too hope for a miracle and that he will be the #1 golfer.

Katie McMurray from Ohio on August 12, 2010:

Pamela, Oh my prayers and thoughts are with Phil Mickelson and his family and may golf turn out to be the best medicine, a miracle and may he continue to the number one spot. What an amazing FAMILY man!

Bob Diamond RPh from Charlotte, NC USA on August 12, 2010:

I have long been an admirer of Phil and his "go for broke" attitude on the golf course. I want him to make it to be the "Number One" golfer. Phil is a great role model in many areas of his life; in and out of the public arena.

Putz Ballard on August 12, 2010:

Pamela my sister in law has this, thanks for sharing.

Tom Whitworth from Moundsville, WV on August 12, 2010:


I was just reading about Phil Mickelson yesterday. He said he could hardly walk after the feat of winning the Masters Tournament. It's a Hurculean feat just to win, much less while in this pain.

Thank you for the information on this disease.

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