Best Stretches for Healthy Joints With Psoriatic Arthritis

Stretching can alleviate psoriatic arthritis pain and tightness and lower injury risk. Here are simple, gentle, doctor-approved moves for your fingers, hands, feet, elbows, back, neck, and more.

woman laying down on blue yoga mat indoors sunshine

A 15-minute daily stretching session can help make your joints more limber.

If you have psoriatic arthritis, you may worry that exercise will worsen your condition. In fact, physical activity is an essential part of caring for your health: It can improve your strength, endurance, and flexibility, and help you manage your weight.

While all forms of exercise are beneficial, gentle stretches can play a key role in relieving psoriatic arthritis symptoms. When your tendons are loose and limber, you may be less likely to experience pain and tightness, according to the patient advocacy group CreakyJoints.

Plus, “increasing your flexibility helps prevent injury,” says?M. Elaine Husni, MD, MPH, the vice chair of rheumatology and the director of the arthritis and musculoskeletal center at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “Daily stretching is an underemphasized part of psoriatic arthritis exercise.”

You’ll want to devote at least 15 minutes a day to stretching, but you should consider doing more, says Dr. Husni.

To get off on the right foot with any new stretching regimen, “you should start with a physical therapist to evaluate your physical ability and come up with a plan,” Husni says. “Once you can stretch without injuring yourself, you can make the plan part of your daily routine.”

Physical therapists are licensed by the state where they practice and work in a variety of settings, according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), including hospitals, outpatient clinics, and private practices.

In addition to creating a stretching plan tailored to your individual needs, a physical therapist will teach you how to monitor and adjust your program in response to changes in your psoriatic arthritis pain level, disease activity, and response to treatment, says the ACR.

RELATED: Physical Therapy for Psoriatic Arthritis: 6 Things You Should Know

Stretches for Psoriatic Arthritis Hands and Fingers

hands laid out on table

“Fingers are a common site of psoriatic arthritis pain, swelling, and stiffness,” Husni says. To stretch them:

  1. Rest your hand on a table palm up, and bend the fingers together all the way in towards the palm.
  2. Rest your hand on the table palm down, and, one at a time, lift each finger as high as you can.
  3. Hold your hand out and touch each fingertip to the tip of your thumb.
  4. Repeat five times.

Here’s a simple stretch for hands:

  1. Rest your forearm on a table and let your hand hang down.
  2. Clench your fingers while flexing your wrist so your fist comes up as far as possible.
  3. Repeat 10 times.

RELATED: Hand and Foot Exercises for Psoriatic Arthritis

Forearm and Elbow Stretches for Psoriatic Arthritis

arm elbow resting on surface blue background

To improve flexibility in your elbow and forearm, try this stretch:

  1. Rest your palm flat on a table with your elbow close against your side.
  2. Flip your hand from palm down to palm up, keeping your elbow still.
  3. Repeat 10 times.

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Neck Stretches for Psoriatic Arthritis

woman stretching neck outdoors

Stretch-and-hold?exercises?can improve flexibility in your neck. “When you do your stretches, you want to stay and hold, but not to the point where it becomes painful,” Husni says. “Stop if it hurts.”

To stretch your neck:

  1. Sitting upright in a straight-backed chair, bend your head sideways toward your shoulder; stretch and hold for about five seconds.
  2. Keeping your back still, turn your head to the other side as far as you can without pain, holding the stretch for five seconds.
  3. Repeat five times.

Back Stretches for Psoriatic Arthritis

woman laying on her back on yoga mat indoors knees up

“There should not be any bounce in these stretching exercises,” says Husni. “Slow and easy does it.”

To stretch your back:

  1. Lie on your back on a firm, flat surface with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent.
  2. Tighten your belly to push your back as flat as you can for five seconds, then release.
  3. Repeat 10 times.

For another stretch, roll your knees from side to side to side while keeping your back on the ground.

One more stretch: Start by lying on your back on a firm, flat surface. Push down with your feet and shoulders while gently lifting your lower back off the ground.

Stretches for Psoriatic Arthritis Feet

feet walking yellow background and surface

Any joint can be affected by psoriatic arthritis, including those in the ankles and toes, said Husni. To stretch:

  1. With both feet flat on the ground, press down with the toes on one foot and increase the arch of that foot.
  2. With your leg straight and your heel down, stretch the foot as far up and down as you can.
  3. Keeping your leg straight, try to make a complete circle with the foot, first one way and then the other.
  4. Perform 10 times on each side.

Other Exercises for Psoriatic Arthritis

woman doing yoga indoors looking at tablet

Besides stretching, people with psoriatic arthritis need?aerobic exercise like walking, swimming, or water?aerobics on most days. Regular aerobic exercise can improve pain and fatigue in patients with psoriatic arthritis, according to a study?published in 2023. “You can include some stretching in your warm-up and cool-down periods,” says Husni.

Strengthening exercises are also vital, with some forms, like?yoga, incorporating stretching as well. A study?involving people with psoriatic arthritis found that subjects who did resistance exercises twice a week for 12 weeks saw improvements in functional capacity, disease activity, and overall quality of life.

RELATED:?7 Exercises to Try if You Have Psoriatic Arthritis

Additional reporting by?Julie Marks.

Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking

Everyday Health follows strict sourcing guidelines to ensure the accuracy of its content, outlined in our editorial policy. We use only trustworthy sources, including peer-reviewed studies, board-certified medical experts, patients with lived experience, and information from top institutions.


  • 20+ Gentle Stretches for Arthritis You Can Do Every Day at Home.?CreakyJoints.?April 16, 2020.
  • Physical Therapist. American College of Rheumatology.
  • Diaz AJ et al. Regular Exercise Improved Fatigue and Musculoskeletal Pain in Young Adult Psoriatic Patients Without Psoriatic Arthritis. Nutrients. October 27, 2023.
  • Roger-Silva D et al. A Resistance Exercise Program Improves Functional Capacity of Patients With Psoriatic Arthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Clinical Rheumatology. February 2018.
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