Person sitting in a chair with one leg propped up and their knee wrapped

Psoriatic Arthritis and Knee Pain

Last updated: June 2020

When you take time to think about it, it makes a great deal of sense why knee pain is so prevalent in the PsA community. After all, the knees are the largest joints in the body. Our knees make it possible for us to walk, stand, and sit.

So if you suffer, there is very little you can do without experiencing, and in many cases exasperating your knee pain.

Psoriatic arthritis and knee pain

Many of us with psoriatic arthritis feel most of our knee pain in one knee, as opposed to both. That is often one of the markers of PsA versus other types of arthritis. Our pain is often one-sided and not matching on both sides.

Tips to manage knee pain with psoriatic arthritis

For example, my left elbow is a hot mess, but my corresponding elbow on the right is mostly okay.

Here are a few tips for managing knee pain.

Get the knees moving!

Even if you have to set a timer, move every 15 minutes, even if it is only shifting positions. Movement is very important when you have knee pain.

No matter if it is standing, sitting, or lying down, try and shift how your knee bends in order to keep those juices flowing throughout your knee.

Address the knee pain with your doctor or physical therapist

Ask your doctor or PT about simple exercises to build the muscles in the knee to better aid in movement and keeping the joints “lubed” up.

As painful as it can sometimes feel, in some cases (and with the approval of your doctor) it is worth the effort and energy to stretch and build the muscles in your knee to stave off more challenging options to manage your knee pain.

Steroid knee injections

As a more short term solution, consider talking with your doctor about steroid injections for your knee. Yes, it might give you a bit of the heebie-jeebies to think about a needle going into your knee. But I speak from personal experience when I say, if you can get over that, you can possibly get some decent relief.

Over the years, I’ve had steroid injections in my knees several times and can often get up to 3 months of pain relief.

Stem cell therapy

Stem cell therapy for knee pain is a much newer option that lasts a little longer (sometimes 5-7 years). It is much more expensive and involved than steroid injections. Because it is more up and coming, there isn’t a ton of research on its specific use for psoriatic arthritis.

This makes it, as well as total knee replacement surgery, often controversial among the medical community.

Knee replacement surgery

For much more long term solutions, your doctor may suggest a knee replacement surgery. There are various types and your doctor will guide you through the important decisions if you reach that point. However, recovery “can” be difficult.

Many people who suffer from knee pain and some studies suggest that people who undergo knee replacement surgery may be more likely to suffer from more frequent flares.

Let's do more for knee pain from psoriatic arthritis

Given that the knee is the largest joint in the body, the medical community needs to do a much better job of developing better long term solutions for knee pain.

While many rheumatologists (probably rightly) believe that if they can get the overall disease under control with DMARD’s and biologics, there are very few options to adequately manage the pain in the meantime. After all, heat, ice, and Epsom salts can only go so far.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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