Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that can make everyday activities more frustrating and challenging due to joint and skeletal pain and stiffness.
This chronic and progressive inflammatory joint disease is often associated with psoriasis, a skin condition that causes inflammation, flaking and abnormally colored patches. Psoriatic arthritis – occurring in up to 40% of those with psoriasis – can also result in chronic fatigue, swelling and a limited range of motion.
Psoriatic arthritis can occur at any age, although it is most common from ages 30 through 50, occurring equally in men and women. There are five different types of the disease:
- Asymmetric Arthritis: The most common presentation, this occurs when four or fewer joints have symptoms in an asymmetrical pattern.
- Symmetric Arthritis: Similar to rheumatoid arthritis, this type involves five or more joints in a symmetrical pattern.
- Arthritis Mutilans: This severely destructive form involves the mutilation of finger and toe joints. This rare type – less than 1% of cases – may cause fingers to appear like sausages because of the swelling.
- Distal Interphalangeal Dominant: This type affects only fingers and toes, often accompanied by changes in the nails.
- Spondylitis: Manifests as inflammation in the spine region, affecting the lower back, neck and SI joints.
Fortunately, the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can be improved with physical therapy. Therapists promote a better quality of life through activities that improve mobility and reduce pain. Techniques utilized may include:
- Personalized fitness plan including stretching, muscle strengthening and aerobic exercise
- Tips for conserving energy and movements that help protect joints
- Training on the use of assistive devices that make everyday tasks easier
- Suggestions for heat and cold treatments to help relieve joint stiffness and pain
Patients receiving in-home physical therapy services from ProHealth Partners benefit from the comprehensive, individualized attention, helping them lead a more comfortable, active lifestyle. Individuals having difficulty performing work duties may be given an ergonomic evaluation. The therapist may recommend workspace changes to ease their experience.