Look after your body

If you have psoriatic arthritis, try to take a holistic view of your self-care. That means not only taking treatment as your doctor has prescribed, but also looking after yourself as a whole.

Watch your diet

It’s a good idea to try to eat a balanced diet and control your weight and protect your joints.1 Being overweight can overload the joints and bones that are used to supporting the body.2,3 Although there’s no clear evidence that diet can affect PsA, some people report having milder symptoms when they ate more healthily.1 Certain foods can make inflammation worse, so try to avoid alcohol, sugary, processed or fried things, diet drinks, red meat and dairy, where possible.1 Instead, try replacing them with fruits and vegetables, beans and whole grains, fatty fish, avocados, flaxseed and olive oil, and green, white and black teas.1 Spices like turmeric, ginger and cayenne can also help calm inflammation.1 Kicking a smoking habit may also help – smoking has been shown to increase the risk of psoriatic disease.3

 

TOP TIP

Buy pre-chopped, frozen veggies to give your hands a break*

 

Keep fit

Exercise can help you destress and maintain a healthy weight, which could lower your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.2,4,5 And very importantly if you have PsA, exercise can help you to protect your joints and strengthen your muscles.4 It’s important to find activities that work for you as they need to be something that will help your joints, stiffness and pain, rather than make it worse, so please check with your healthcare professional before starting anything.4,6 You’re more likely to stick with an activity you like!6 And most importantly – take note of any progress you make and congratulate yourself – every step is a step in the right direction!

 

5 tips for getting active4-7

  1. Start slow. Do little bits to begin and build up from there once you feel ready.
  2. Don’t overdo it. If you feel pain when you flex your joints after a workout, you may have pushed yourself too hard and need to take it easy for a bit.
  3. Enjoy yourself. Make sure you choose an activity you like or consider mixing a few up and doing different things on different days to keep it interesting.
  4. Stay hydrated. Not drinking enough liquid isn’t good at any time, but especially when you’re exercising.
  5. Consider yoga. The gentle movements can help keep joints moving and the breathing could help you stay calm.

 

TOP TIP

Have a warm shower to warm up your joints before exercise*

 

Don't forget your skin and nails 

Skin and nail psoriasis is common in people with PsA, so if you’re affected, make sure you pay special attention to yours.8,9 These days, we all try to wash our hands regularly, so make sure you moisturise well.10 Keeping your nails trimmed and using gloves to help you avoid irritants when doing chores or gardening is also a good idea.10 If you have Pso plaques on your feet or toenails, make sure you keep them clean and dry by wearing merino wool socks or roomy shoes.11 And if you’re out and about, make sure you protect your skin from the sun.12 Finally, while it may be tempting to have a good scratch when you wash your hair, please make sure you don’t.13

Be kind to yourself

 

You may be interested in:

You’re not alone – there are other patients with psoriatic arthritis, just like you out there.

Advice about dealing with the main PsA symptoms.

It can be easy to lose track of how you’re doing if you don’t take note.

 

*Representative of patient experience

1.    WebMD. 9 Psoriatic arthritis diets. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis-and-your-diet Accessed: June 2020.
2.    Arthritis Foundation. How fat affects PsA. Available at: https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/about-arthritis/related-conditions/other-diseases/how-fat-affects-psa Accessed: June 2020.
3.    WebMD. What makes psoriatic arthritis worse? Available at: https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis/what-makes-psoriatic-arthritis-worse#2-6 Accessed: June 2020.
4.    National Psoriasis Foundation. Living with psoriatic arthritis. Available at: https://www.psoriasis.org/life-with-psoriatic-arthritis Accessed: June 2020.
5.    WebMD. Have psoriatic arthritis? 5 stress-busting tips. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis/stress-relief Accessed: June 2020.
6.    National Psoriasis Foundation. Physical activity and psoriatic arthritis. Available at: https://www.psoriasis.org/psoriatic-arthritis/living-well/exercise Accessed: June 2020.
7.    Everyday Health-Exercises for psoriatic arthritis. Available at: https://www.everydayhealth.com/psoriatic-arthritis/exercises-to-try-if-you-have-psoriatic-arthritis/ Accessed: June 2020.
8.    National Psoriasis Foundation. About Psoriasis. Available at: https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis. Last accessed June 2020.
9.    Ritchlin CT, et al. N Engl J Med 2017;376:957-970. 
10.    AAD. Skin and nail care. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/psoriasis/skin-care/nail-care Accessed: June 2020.
11.    National Psoriasis Foundation. Shoes for palmoplantar psoriasis. Available at: https://www.psoriasis.org/blog/shoes-for-palmoplantar-psoriasis Accessed: June 2020.
12.    National Psoriasis Foundation. Sunscreen guidelines. Available at: https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/staying-safe-sun Accessed: June 2020.
13.    AAD. Scalp psoriasis. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/psoriasis/treatment/genitals/scalp-hair-loss Accessed: June 2020.