How to Prevent and Ease Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on October 07, 2020

You can soothe your psoriatic arthritis symptoms -- or even stop them before they start -- with a combo of exercise, medicines, and other treatments.

Your doctor can tell you exactly what you need to do. Chances are, these tactics will be high on their list, right next to taking your medicines.

Get Moving

Are you cautious about exercise? Get out there. Just make sure you stick with what your doctor says is OK for you -- probably low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or biking. Make sure you pace yourself, too.

When you make exercise a habit, you can:

  • Ease arthritis symptoms.
  • Improve how you move.
  • Get stronger and more flexible.
  • Keep your weight healthy, which takes pressure off your joints.
  • Help your heart.
  • Boost your mood.
  • Give yourself more energy.

You can work out on your own or with the help of a physical therapist. Warm up first, so your muscles can ease into it.

One of your best options is water therapy, also called hydrotherapy or aqua therapy. It’s an exercise program held in a pool. The water takes some of the weight off your joints, so it may be easier for you to do well.

Whatever exercise you choose, make sure it’s one you'll like enough to do it regularly. Also, try to be active throughout your day. You can garden, give the dog an extra walk, and fit in some stretches while you’re at your kid’s sports practice.

Caring for Your SkinAdding a few steps to your skin care routine can ease the troubles of psoriatic arthritis.107

SPEAKER: Good skin care

for psoriatic arthritis

is a must.

We advise you set up a routine

and keep with it.

A rheumatologist can be vital,

but there are things to do

at home.

Moisturizing is the golden rule.

Apply a moisturizer heavily

and frequently.

Don't be afraid to slather it


The more moisture

to the affected area, the better

off it will be.

Look for products that contain

ceramides, lipids,

or hyaluronic acid.

Use coconut butter or shea

butter for a natural remedy.

Do not scrape or scratch


Use a hydrocortisone.

These can relieve itching

and reduce lesions.

Avoid over usage, so

talk to your doctor about how

much is right for you.

Clip your nails.

Keep your nails short to resist

the temptation to scratch.

Your nails can scratch the areas

too hard and result in injury

or making the area worse.

Drink water.

Water is

the ultimate moisturizer

for your body.

Drink plenty of it,

and the effects will be seen

on the outside.

Take short showers or baths.

Spending an extended amount

of time in water

can have a drying effect

on your skin.

So limit the time.

Also use non-irritant soaps.

Using a humidifier can really

be helpful in the winter

or in dryer climates.

Light exposure is helpful.

Doctors may prescribe


You can have a similar effect

by spending time in the sun.

Of course everything has

its limits.

Use sunscreen.

Adding a few steps

to your skincare routine

can ease the troubles

of psoriatic arthritis.

Arthritis Foundation: "13 Tips to Soothe Your Skin."/delivery/f4/2b/f42be83a-13f9-406a-802b-4979a13e8da9/vd-1378-pa-skin-care_,4500k,1000k,750k,2500k,400k,.mp401/03/2018 12:00:0000caring for skin with psoriatic arthritis vide/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/article_thumbnails/video/caring_for_your_skin_with_psoriatic_arthritis_video/650x350_caring_for_your_skin_with_psoriatic_arthritis_video.jpg091e9c5e818b14a9

Use Hot and Cold

Moist heat can relax achy muscles and relieve stiffness and joint pain. You can use a warm towel, hot pack, or take a warm bath or shower.

Coldness can cut back on swelling and ease pain. You can cool down with a bag of ice or with frozen veggies wrapped in a towel.

3 Ways to Protect Your Joints

You don’t have to give up the things you love to do. Just look for ways to do them that take the stress off your joints.

The way you walk, sit, stand, or hold things can help. Change your position at work, at home, and throughout the day. Sit and stand up straight, and don't arch your back. Good posture helps you feel better.


Make these three things a habit:

1. Pace yourself. Switch between heavy, hard, or repetitive tasks and light or easy tasks. Make sure you take breaks.

2. Be kind to your joints. Put as little stress on them as possible. Use larger, stronger joints when you can, instead of smaller ones. For example, wear a shoulder bag rather than a handheld purse.


3. Get an assist. Many helpful devices -- like canes, grab bars, extra-thick pens, luggage carts, or sit/stand stools -- can make your day easier. Ask an occupational therapist which ones would help you.

It's natural to have flare-ups, but then you'll have times where you feel better. If you notice any new symptoms, tell your doctor. That’ll help keep things in check so you don't have more joint damage. You can keep your symptoms under control with treatment.

Everyday Ways to Pamper Your Joints With Psoriatic ArthritisJoint pain and stiffness may make ordinary tasks a hassle, but it doesn’t have to keep you down. Whether you’re at home or on the go, a few lifestyle adjustments can keep inflammation at bay. 94

If you have psoriatic arthritis,

you're often dealing

with joint pain and stiffness.

Here are some everyday tricks

to ease your symptoms.

When carrying household items,

spread the weight around.

If you move something larger,

hug it close to your body.

But if it's heavy, slide rather

than lift.

Watch your posture when using

screens to avoid getting "tech


Hold your phone at eye level,

and use hands-free headsets

instead of clutching devices too

long in one position.

That can lead to hand aches.

Get ergonomic at work.

Set up your monitor so it's

20-26 inches from your body.

Relax your wrists when typing.

Try an adjustable desk

if possible.

Avoid standing too long

or sitting too much, as both can

stiffen joints.

If you've been in one position

for longer than 30 minutes,

change it up to keep yourself


Choose function over fashion

on the go.

Three-inch heels stress

your foot 7 times more

than 1-inch heels.

Choose shoes with a rounded

front so the toes can wiggle,

a rubber sole for cushion,

and some flexibility at the ball

so you can push off.

The added support is better

for knees and joints.

If you have a flare-up,

try using braces on your elbows

and wrists

or knee guards for stability.

If you ache more than usual,

a warm bath can help relieve

muscle tension, and it might

help you sleep better.

Whirlpools, heated pools,

warm compresses,

or microwavable heat packs

can ease swelling and pain.

Arthritis Foundation: “51 Ways to be Good to Your Joints.”<br> Arthritis Foundation: “Self-help Arthritis Devices.”<br> National Institutes of Health: “Evidence of Health Risks Associated with Prolonged Standing at Work and Intervention Effectiveness.”/delivery/aws/16/d5/16d5134b-cedf-3a10-851e-ffe5c58e32eb/091e9c5e81ddb1b8_funded-psoriatic-arthritis-ways-to-pamper-your-joints_,4500k,2500k,1000k,750k,400k,.mp401/02/2020 12:00:00650350ways to pamper your joints/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/article_thumbnails/video/funded_psoriatic_arthritis_ways_to_pamper_your_joints_video/650x350_funded_psoriatic_arthritis_ways_to_pamper_your_joints_video.jpg091e9c5e81ddb1b8
WebMD Medical Reference


Arthritis Foundation: "Psoriatic Arthritis."
MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: "Psoriatic Arthritis."
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders: "Roundtable Discussion on Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis."
National Psoriasis Foundation: "About Psoriasis: Psoriatic Arthritis."

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.