Like other kinds of inflammatory arthritis, psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic condition that damages the lining of the joints.

Psoriatic arthritis is different from other types of arthritis because it also affects the skin. In fact, many people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis about 10 years after getting this skin condition, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

There are several causes of psoriatic arthritis, but the exact cause may not be known.

In some cases, having surgery has been shown to trigger psoriatic arthritis or worsen symptoms. Clinical research on the link between psoriatic arthritis and surgery is ongoing.

Clinical studies have shown that trauma to the body due to injury or surgery is more commonly linked to the development of psoriatic arthritis than to other kinds of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis. People with existing psoriatic arthritis may also need surgery such as knee replacement procedures to help reduce symptoms and improve mobility.

A 2018 research review found that in some cases, the physical and emotional stress of surgery may trigger or cause psoriatic arthritis to worsen. Increased stress on the body may also be caused by infections that develop after surgery.

The review also showed that infections may be more common if the surgical incision (cut) was through skin that had psoriatic lesions. Stress due to surgery and skin injury may cause the immune system to have an unbalanced response and attack the joints.

Medications taken after surgery, such as anti-inflammatories and pain medications, may also be linked to psoriatic arthritis symptoms.

Like other types of arthritis, post-traumatic psoriatic arthritis will feel different from person to person. Up to 60 percent of people that have PsA have psoriatic arthritis that begins in four or fewer joints. If you have had PsA for some time, it may affect more joints in the body. It affects joints in the feet more commonly than in the hands.

Surgery or trauma may trigger psoriatic arthritis symptoms or cause symptoms in other areas of the body. You may have symptoms such as:

  • pain or throbbing in one or more joints
  • swelling or tenderness
  • stiffness or difficulty with normal movements
  • morning tiredness or general fatigue
  • skin rashes or changes
  • nail or nailbeds changes such as pitting
  • eye redness

A review and analysis of literature published in 2019 showed that weight loss may help improve or prevent psoriatic arthritis in people who are overweight or have obesity. The researchers concluded that this may be due to reduced inflammation caused by weight loss and having less body fat. However, more research is needed.

Other lifestyle changes that can lead to healthy weight loss such as eating a more balanced daily diet and getting regular exercise can also reduce inflammation in the body. This may help ease psoriatic arthritis flare-ups.

Your doctor may recommend therapies and prescription medications as treatment for psoriatic arthritis after surgery. These include:

Lifestyle changes can’t treat psoriatic arthritis on their own, but they may help relieve symptoms after a surgical procedure. In addition to following your treatment regimen as your doctor prescribed, you can make lifestyle changes to help soothe joint pain and other symptoms.

Regular exercise

Psoriatic arthritis can make your joints feel stiff and painful. However, reducing regular activity can weaken muscles and make the joints even more unstable. The right kind of physical exercise can help reduce psoriatic arthritis symptoms after surgery.

Ask your doctor or physiotherapist about the best exercises for you before beginning a daily exercise regimen. Most health experts recommend range-of-motion exercises to help improve muscle mass and joint stability in people with psoriatic arthritis.

These include low impact activities such as walking, stretching, cycling, rowing, and swimming. Gentle strength training with smaller weights and yoga and Pilates exercises can also help strengthen the joints without damaging them further.


Eating a balanced diet daily and avoiding certain trigger foods can help reduce inflammation for improved psoriatic arthritis management. Your doctor may recommend avoiding alcohol to prevent medication interactions and help keep your liver healthy. Keeping a food journal can help you find out which foods trigger or worsen symptoms.

Adding certain foods to your daily diet can help reduce inflammation and fat and build lean muscle mass. These include:

Managing stress

Stress can trigger or worsen psoriatic arthritis. Learning healthy ways to manage stress and improve emotional and mental well-being may help improve psoriatic arthritis symptoms.

Ask your doctor about therapies, such as counseling, that may help you learn coping techniques to better manage stress.

This includes meditation, journaling, visualization, and breathing exercises. Chatting with a supportive person or in a support group for people with psoriatic arthritis may also help.

Try to avoid situations and events that may trigger stress as much as possible.

Psoriatic arthritis that occurs or worsens after surgery may go away or lessen over time as the body heals and emotional stress subsides. The inflammation that’s triggered by surgery and leads to psoriatic arthritis symptoms may decrease on its own or with the help of medications and lifestyle therapy.

Living with arthritis

If you have psoriatic arthritis that’s triggered or worsened after surgery, there are things that you can do to help reduce symptoms.

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Once your treatment plan has been created, it’s important that you follow it, which includes taking all medications exactly as prescribed. Let your doctor know about any changes in symptoms.

Try adding lifestyle therapy to your treatment regimen. This can include eating a balanced diet daily, low impact exercises, rest and joint massages or heat therapy, and stress management strategies. Beyond helping your PsA symptoms, these are all great habits for overall health and well-being.

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Psoriatic arthritis symptoms can be triggered or worsen after you have a surgical procedure due to increased stress, emotional distress, and inflammation.

Some people may experience existing psoriatic arthritis pain that worsens after surgery. Others may have new psoriatic arthritis pain or pain in more joints than before.

Medication, physiotherapy, and lifestyle therapies can help manage psoriatic arthritis symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.