Can You Exercise with Psoriatic Arthritis?

Ask a Doctor

I’ve always been active – I play tennis, run, and lift weights. After seeing my doctor for joint pain, he ran some tests and diagnosed me with psoriatic arthritis. I was upset, to say the least, but I’ll be really upset if I have to stop exercising. Can you exercise with psoriatic arthritis?

Doctor's Response

Absoutely. Exercise is important to keep the pain and swelling of arthritis to a minimum. A good exercise program can improve movement, strengthen muscles to stabilize joints, improve sleep, strengthen the heart, increase stamina, reduce weight, and improve physical appearance.

If your doctor prescribes a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Nuprin, Advil, Excedrin IB), and you have morning stiffness, the best time to take the drug may be in the evening after dinner and again when you wake up. Taking these medications with food will reduce stomach upset. Do not take them within an hour of bedtime because they can injure the lining of the esophagus and stomach.

Usually, a normal amount of rest and sleep will help to reduce joint inflammation and fatigue. In a few people, psoriatic arthritis can cause extreme fatigue.

Heat and cold treatments can temporarily reduce pain and joint swelling. You might try soaking in a warm tub or placing a warm compress or cold pack on the painful joint.

For more information, read our full medical article on psoriatic arthritis.

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Klippel, J.H., et al. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases. New York: Springer, 2008.