Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a disease with several available treatments but no cure, so managing it is a lifelong endeavor. The tenderness and swelling of your affected joints can limit your range of motion significantly, making usual tasks such as getting dressed and cooking more difficult. Because your joints are already compromised, they can undergo further damage easily; you’ll need to do what you can to protect them. Learning how to position your body and use adaptive devices can help you live confidently with PsA and avoid additional joint damage.
Proper body positioning can make you more comfortable during a PsA flare-up as well as prevent undue strain on your joints at all times. Always be mindful of how you sit and stand. For example, when working close to the floor, sit down on your rear end instead of crouching or kneeling. The latter two positions put stress on your knees and ankles and might contribute to increased pain.
You should also think about how you hold things. Grasp items firmly but loosely so that your knuckles are in alignment. For example, lay a book or magazine on your open hands while you read rather than tightly gripping the front and back covers. A very tight grip might cause irregular positioning of your knuckles, which leads to more wear and tear for the joints.
In general, keeping sore joints in alignment with the rest of your body is a good way to protect them and address pain. For example, tuck a pillow under your hip or between your knees to achieve more restful and pain-free sleep.
Psoriatic arthritis sufferers might encounter difficulties in all aspects of life, whether at work or at play, when range of motion is limited. Take advantage of modern technology to increase your productivity and protect your joints at the same time.
Simple gadgets such as pencil grips can be added to toothbrushes and eating utensils to help you hold them. Buttoners and long-stemmed shoehorns might make getting dressed less frustrating.
Easy-to-grip kitchen tools such as jar and can openers can make cooking easier on your joints. Use a reacher — a long pole with a claw-like fixture on the end — to help you access the high cupboards without straining.
Phones and keyboards with large keys can help you get in a full day’s work with ease. Try lightweight hoses for gardening, playing card holders, and hands-free frames for needlework to enjoy your favorite hobbies without pain.
Safety also plays a role in joint protection. PsA that affects your hands may decrease your ability to grasp and grab, and inflammation in your lower joints can make you unsteady on your feet. Prevent falls with safety bars in the bathtub and a raised toilet seat to protect your joints as well as the rest of your body!
Consult your doctor or physical therapist to learn about additional adaptive devices that might be available for your home or office.