How to prep for outdoor workouts with psoriatic arthritis

Staying active can boost your quality of life with psoriatic arthritis. But if you are struggling to hit the gym on a regular basis, consider making a change in scenery.

Team NPF has a plethora of outdoor events (including walking, running, cycling and more) to keep you fit while fundraising for a cure. 

But wherever your workouts take place, you should always consult with your doctor first. 

"If you're taking up a new exercise or experiencing pain, the safest thing is to be evaluated by your physician," said Dr. Thomas O'Hagan, a sports medicine physician at Great Lakes Orthopaedic Center in Traverse City, Michigan.

Here are more tips from O'Hagan on how to get the most out of an outdoor workout if you have psoriatic arthritis. 

The Workouts: Walking, hiking, running.

Gear to Get: Stop by your local specialty walking/running store to talk with knowledgeable staff about the right shoes for your feet. Many stores now offer gait analysis, which involves taking a close look your feet as you walk or run. Since PsA can affect ankle strength, O'Hagan suggests looking for shoes that support that area of your foot. "A good hiking shoe with ankle support will make it comfortable to walk."

Orthotics also may help alleviate pain. "A lot of the newer inserts that you get over the counter are structurally safe and good for you. Your rheumatologist or podiatrist also can prescribe custom-made orthotics that can be very supportive and give relief."

The Workout: Cycling

Gear to Get: Bike shops can offer gear as well as help fitting you with a proper bike. If you have knee issues, recumbent (meaning "seated") bicycle may be your best bet because they don't require the knee to bend as much. Over-the-counter or prescription knee braces also can relieve pain because they take pressure off the joint.

The Workouts: Tennis, golfing

Gear to Get: Inflammation (and pain) can strike the shoulders and elbows, which we use for activities like tennis and golfing. Kinesio tape, the colorful tape used on athletes and typically administered by physical therapists, can offer relief in these areas. Another option:Neoprene sleeves, which can help your elbow feel more stable.

The information posted on the NPF Blog is not intended as, and is not, a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.

Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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