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Protect Your Joints

Medically reviewed by Nancy Carteron, MD, FACR on February 15, 2017Written by Erica Roth on April 2, 2012

If you have psoriatic arthritis (PsA), you know that managing the pain is an ongoing endeavor. While there’s no known cure for the disease, there are proven ways to reduce your pain.

Learning how to position your body and using adaptive devices can help you live confidently with PsA.

Body positioning

Proper body positioning can make you more comfortable during a PsA flare-up, as well as preventing undue strain on your joints at all times. Because your joints may already be compromised, they could undergo further damage. You’ll need to do what you can to protect them.

Here are three helpful tips:

  • Be mindful of how you sit and stand. For example, when doing an activity that involves working close to the floor, sit down instead of crouching or kneeling. Crouching and kneeling can add additional stress to your knees and ankles. These positions may even cause more intense pain. 
  • Think about how you hold onto things. Grasp items firmly but loosely. When grasping items, make sure that your knuckles are in alignment. When reading, lay a book or magazine on your open hands or lap while you read rather than tightly gripping the front and back covers. A very tight grip may cause irregular positioning of your knuckles, which leads to more wear and tear.
  • Keep sore joints in alignment. Situating your joints 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.

Adaptive devices

People with PsA can encounter difficulties in all aspects of life, whether at home, at work, or outside. While your range of motion may be limited, take advantage of modern technology to increase your productivity and protect your joints.

Here are some ideas to make your everyday life easier:

  • Pencil grips can be added to toothbrushes and eating utensils to make them easier to grasp.
  • 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.
  • Reacher poles, grabbers, or any device with a claw-like fixture on the end, can help you access the high cupboards without straining your neck or standing on a chair.
  • Phones and keyboards with large keys can help you get in a full day’s work with ease.
  • Bathtub safety bars can help prevent falls.
  • Lightweight garden hoses, playing card holders, and hands-free needlework frames can allow you to enjoy your favorite hobbies without pain.

Joint protection is important for everyone, but especially those with PsA. Consult your doctor, physical therapist, or occupational therapist to learn about proper postures for your needs as well as other devices that might be available for your home or office.

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