Joint Swelling and Tenderness

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on November 15, 2021

Joints are the points in the body where the bones meet. They allow the bones to move comfortably. The common joints in the body are the shoulders, elbows, knees, and hips. People with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) often experience joint tenderness and swelling. 

The American College of Rheumatology reports that arthritis can affect commonly used joints. These include knees, hips, hands, and wrists. 

How to Manage Joint Swelling and Tenderness?

People with PsA need to understand everything about their condition. For instance, you should know which of your joints are likely to be affected. You should also ask your doctor about possible interventions for joint pain and swelling management. 

Pay attention to how you sit, stand, and walk, as these activities can increase joint tenderness and swelling.

  • Every morning, do some basic stretches to keep your joints moving. Doing this will allow the joints to maintain their full range of motion. 
  • Do not engage in intense exercise. Instead, ask a physical therapist to make an exercise plan for you, considering your condition. If you are inactive, start with just three to five minutes of activity daily. 
  • Make sure your posture is correct. Consult a physical therapist to learn about the best posture for sitting and standing. 
  • Do not push your limits too hard. Previously, you might have been able to move your joints more flexibly. PsA can restrict your movement, though. You should not overdo stretches. Do not try to push your joints beyond their limit, as that can cause injury. 

You should also avoid lifting heavy weights, as it can put pressure on your joints. If you did lift something heavy and your back hurts now, take some painkillers. You can also apply heat to the area. If the pain and swelling do not go away within a week, speak to your doctor. 

Alternatively, try at-home treatments, such as applying ice or a heating pad on the tender area. Do this for short periods a few times a day. You can also sit in a warm bath to relieve some tenderness. 

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Swollen Joints

Besides moving correctly, you can also make some lifestyle changes to manage tender joints. 

  • Manage weight. Obesity is the root cause of many problems, including swollen joints. It can also increase your risk of developing other types of arthritis. Do some physical activity every day and manage your weight to reduce joint tenderness and strain. 
  • Quit smoking. Smoking stresses your connective tissues. It can increase the pain associated with PsA. Get professional help to quit smoking. 

Show Sources

American College of Rheumatology: "Osteoarthritis."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Why is physical activity important for people with arthritis?"
Cleveland Clinic: "Joint Pain."
Mayo Clinic: "Arthritis pain: Do's and don'ts."," Psoriatic arthritis."

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info