Community Views: Managing Psoriatic Arthritis and Hobbies
One of the hardest parts of living with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is dealing with its impact on your hobbies and pastimes. It may seem like you have to give up on the fun, but that is not the case.
What do those with psoriatic arthritis have to say?
Balance is possible. Many people in the community have found ways to still enjoy hobbies while living with PsA. To find out more, we reached out on the Psoriatic-Arthritis.com Facebook page. We asked, “Have you ever had to give up or adjust how you participate in certain hobbies due to psoriatic arthritis?”
More than 100 people responded. Here is what they shared about options for people with PsA when it comes to hobbies.
Give them up
The most common response was that people gave up on hobbies as they became too painful to perform. People stopped crafting, riding motorcycles, playing instruments, and other hobbies that were too taxing for their hands. However, other people in the community have found ways to compromise.
“I have had to give up many things in my life, such as hiking, backpacking, Civil War reenacting, hunting, and fishing. PsA has changed my life in so many unwanted ways.”
“Yes, I stopped crocheting, gardening, and going on long walks. I gave up pretty much everything due to pain.”
“I gave up cross stitch because I could not manipulate the needle any longer.”
“Motorcycling for me – cannot hold the twist grip.”
“I can no longer play piano.”
Switch them out
Another common response was to trade hobbies for something easier to do. People switched to crafts and activities that were more forgiving on their hands. There might be a less taxing version of what you love. If playing the piano is too painful, perhaps there is a different instrument that you could still enjoy playing.
“I no longer have the control or flexibility in my hands to paint. So I have to learn a new, looser medium, such as drawing if I want to continue my art.”
“I cannot knit anymore. The needles are just too small to hold. Thankfully, I can still crochet because crochet hooks can have big, fat, ergonomic handles.”
Keep them, but enjoy them for less time
One helpful trick shared by the community was to simply spend less time doing your hobby. In other words, enjoy it, but put it down before the pain sets in. Find out how much of your hobby is OK for your body.
“Someone made a statement that helped me so much. I was in despair about activities, and this person said to me to not give things up completely but to do way less.”
"I cannot garden for longer than 15–20 minutes because the pain comes while I am gardening, then stays at least a day."
“At one point, about 6 or 7 years ago, I was playing golf 3 times a week. Now, I play 9 holes on an executive course, maybe once a month. That is all I can take.”
“I have had to reduce the intensity and how long my sessions are. I am still working on finding the balance that works for me.”
Change the time of day you do them
A few people also shared that they can still enjoy a hobby if they do it when they feel rested. This might be first thing in the morning or before their hands are tired from work.
“I can only do beading when my hands are ‘fresh.’”
Find a way forward
Several people shared that you must simply find a way to still have fun no matter what. Many people living with PsA are finding workarounds to continue reaching their goals and enjoying all the hobbies they want.
“My dream was to move to a hobby farm shortly after my diagnosis. I was not going to let life fly by. I did not want to have my dream wait until later or wait until retirement. So we got our hobby farm with cows and goats. Where there is a will, there is a way. I found a battery-powered milking device. My hands do not suffer. There is ALWAYS a way!”
“One must accept these changes and continue forward. We cannot let these changes dominate our lives to the point of depression and despair. There are many ways to compensate for those things we lose to this disease. Find an area of interest that will not make your PsA flare up, and that will still be satisfying.”
This or That
When it comes to hobbies with PsA, I've had to:
Were you ever misdiagnosed before being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA)?