Other Treatment Options
Various dietary supplements have been reported to help some people with arthritis. Some of these include glucosamine, chondroitin, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e).
Exercise is essential to preserve strength and maintain range of motion. Isometric exercise is often prescribed because it appears to be less damaging to inflamed joints. A range of motion program should be coupled with a stretching program.
Pain lasting for two hours after exercise is a sign of overdoing it or of choosing the wrong exercise. Stretching exercises are part of the treatment, and are especially useful for spinal arthritis.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation are used to maximize the function of an arthritic joint. Rehabilitation interventions frequently involve general aerobic conditioning to help maintain cardiovascular fitness, proper positioning of joints to assist with mobility and coping strategies to help individuals continue or return to work.
In addition to exercise and local pain therapy, a splint may be used to support a joint in a position to improve function and relieve pain and swelling.
Surgery can help people whose joint destruction limits motion and function despite medical treatment.
Heat, cold and rest are used to relieve pain. Immobilizing an inflamed swollen area while using cold packs can reduce the swelling and improve range of motion. Follow your doctor's directions.
Osteoporosis, the progressive deterioration of bone density, may occur with arthritis—especially with psoriatic spondylitis (inflammation of the spine)—and fractures from minor trauma may occur. Prolonged use of corticosteroids and inactivity can potentially induce osteoporosis. Calcium supplements along with vitamin D help prevent it in affected individuals. In addition, calcitonin and biphosphonates (prescription drugs that affect calcium metabolism and bone formation) may be used. Avoid prolonged bed rest unless directed by a doctor.
Help for Feet
Foot and ankle arthritis is common in psoriatic arthritis. It can cause a great deal of pain. "Sausage" toes are swollen, painful and do not fit into standard shoes. A shoe with a high toe box or an extra-depth shoe can provide relief. Shoe inserts, heel cups and/or pads also may be used in shoes to relieve pain from heel spurs and arthritis in other areas of the foot. A podiatrist, a doctor who specializes in the feet, may be able to provide additional help for people with psoriatic arthritis of the feet and ankles.