What's the connection between psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis? Both are thought to be caused primarily by your immune system. But not everyone who has psoriasis -- which causes patches or plaques of scaly and inflamed skin -- develops psoriatic arthritis. This form of inflammatory arthritis causes joint swelling and pain, and may lead to permanent deformity and damage if not treated.
How can I prevent and ease symptoms of psoriatic arthritis?
By understanding psoriatic arthritis and knowing what to expect, you can learn new ways to perform daily tasks or plan activities during the times and days you are least bothered by the effects of the disease. Once you understand and learn to predict the ways in which your body responds to psoriatic arthritis, you can use medications, exercise and other therapies to alleviate discomfort and reduce stress and fatigue. Again, there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis. But there are many ways to prevent and ease its symptoms.
How can splinting help my psoriatic arthritis?
Your doctor may recommend splinting to help with inflammation or problems with joint alignment or stability. Splints also can help minimize joint destruction that can be seen with psoriatic arthritis. Wrist or finger splints may help rest joints at night or hold them in a comfortable position during work or exercise.
However, joints should not be totally immobilized. Splints should be removed periodically to perform gentle range-of-motion exercises to maintain mobility in those joints.
Is exercise an important component of psoriatic arthritis prevention?
Moderate, regular exercise may relieve joint stiffness and pain associated with psoriatic arthritis. A tailored program of range-of-motion and strengthening exercises, combined with cardiovascular exercise, can help do the following:
What about water therapy and psoriatic arthritis prevention?
Water therapy (hydrotherapy or aqua therapy) is a program of exercises performed in a large pool. Water therapy may be easier on painful joints from psoriatic arthritis, because the water takes some of the weight off the affected areas. Appropriate, recreational exercise also may be beneficial, but only if it is preceded by a program of range-of-motion, strength, and aerobic exercises to reduce the chance of injury. Regardless of the exercise program you select, it's important to choose one you enjoy so that you maintain it.