Managing Psoriatic Arthritis Flares

Mar 21, 2024
Managing Psoriatic Arthritis Flares

Managing psoriatic arthritis flares requires a multifaceted approach. If you’re living with psoriatic arthritis, you need a skilled provider on your side to provide the right tools, and guidance to manage it effectively.

Each patient is different when it comes to psoriatic arthritis, which can affect every joint in the body. Some patients have pain and stiffness in their hands, wrists, or elbows, while others experience stiffness in their feet, spine, hips, or shoulders. 

When psoriatic arthritis flares up, it doesn't just ignite joint pain and stiffness; it can also significantly disrupt your daily routine and quality of life. The severity of symptoms during a flare-up varies from person to person, making it a unique experience that requires highly individualized management. 

Here at Comprehensive Arthritis Care, our skilled clinical team led by Mohammad F. Ali, MD, double board-certified in internal medicine and rheumatology, provides a full range of services to patients living with arthritis.  

Our team can help you navigate the challenges of managing psoriatic arthritis, to help minimize the impact of this chronic condition on your life. 

What is psoriatic arthritis, and who does it affect?

Psoriatic arthritis affects up to one-third of people with psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition. It causes symptoms of both psoriasis and inflammatory arthritis, often leading to joint swelling, sensitivity, and stiffness.

If you have psoriatic arthritis, it’s common to have periods of worsening symptoms, known as flares or flare-ups. The goal is to reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups so you feel better, longer. 

What are common triggers for flare-ups?

Various triggers can bring on a psoriatic arthritis flare-up, including stress, illness, or physical injuries. When this happens, your joints may swell, becoming sensitive and stiff. Read on for some helpful tips in taming psoriatic arthritis flares.

How can I identify my triggers?

Identifying and avoiding your triggers is an important part of managing psoriatic arthritis. Keeping a journal for a month, noting when flare-ups occur and what your potential triggers may be, is an effective strategy. Since triggers vary from person to person, this personalized approach helps you understand what specifically exacerbates your condition. Our team works closely with you to discuss and help identify triggers.


Common psoriatic arthritis triggers include:


  • Stress
  • Weather changes
  • Overexertion
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Alcohol

Pinning down your individual triggers can be challenging, especially if you’re newly diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Our team helps you create a strategy to minimize your exposure.

Is exercise recommended, even during a flare?

Yes, mild physical activity is key to managing psoriatic arthritis. It strengthens muscles around the joints, reduces stiffness, and boosts mood. Exercise might be the last thing on your mind during a flare, but getting regular exercise is crucial for managing psoriatic arthritis. Low-impact activities like walking, cycling, and swimming are best.

How can diet affect psoriatic arthritis?

Diet plays a significant role in managing psoriatic arthritis. Foods that contribute to inflammation, such as highly processed foods, added sugars, red meat, and fatty foods, contribute to inflammation. Following an anti-inflammatory diet is good for your joints, and is shown to significantly reduce joint pain.

Focus on avoiding foods that may contribute to inflammation. The Mediterranean Diet is a good example of a low-inflammatory way of eating. Leafy greens and other vegetables, fruit (especially berries), whole grains, beans, nuts, fish, and lean poultry make up the foundation of the Mediterranean Diet. 

What are some effective ways to manage stress and flares?

Stress is a known trigger for psoriatic arthritis flares. Engaging in activities that relieve stress can help keep flares at bay. Find an activity that you enjoy enough to engage in regularly, whether it's yoga, meditation, knitting, bird watching, reading, or deep breathing exercises. 

How important is rest in managing psoriatic arthritis?

Rest is crucial for managing psoriatic arthritis, especially during flare-ups. It allows your body to recover and repair. Improving rest involves getting quality sleep each night, establishing a regular sleep schedule, and creating a restful bedroom environment. During flare-ups, it's important to allow yourself additional rest and recovery time.

With the right management plan, it’s possible to prevent psoriatic arthritis from controlling your life. Our team at Comprehensive Arthritis Care is devoted to excellence in caring for patients with psoriatic arthritis. Contact our Hendersonville, Tennessee, office to request an appointment today!