For some people with psoriatic arthritis (PsA), the pain and swelling may affect their feet. Treatments for managing PsA foot pain include soaking the feet, wearing supportive footwear, taking medication, and more.

PsA causes pain, stiffness, and swelling of the joints it affects, such as the ones in the foot. Symptoms may come and go. Foot pain worsens during a flare-up and goes away during remission.

A person can take several steps to help address foot pain due to PsA. This article reviews some medical treatments and home remedies that may help.

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Some people find relief through soaking their feet in Epsom salts and warm water. Although this may help some people, evidence on the anti-inflammatory effects of minerals is mixed.

In a 2018 review of studies, researchers noted that results for using mineral baths in PsA are generally positive but also limited in the number of studies looking into their effects.

Applying ice to the feet may help alleviate pain. Cold therapy, such as ice packs, helps restrict blood flow. In turn, this can help reduce inflammation.

A person may apply an ice pack at the end of the day, after exercising, or whenever their feet feel achy or painful.

Learn more about cold therapy for arthritis.

A person can consider getting a sturdy, supportive pair of shoes to manage PsA foot pain. Supportive shoes help protect the bones, muscles, and joints in the feet.

The United Kingdom’s National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society recommends buying footwear from a store that offers foot measuring and trying on footwear on both feet. This can help ensure a person gets the best possible fit.

Special shoe insoles or orthoses can help improve support. However, it is important to consider the extra bulk the insoles will provide when trying on new footwear.

PsA can cause changes in the nails. It can cause them to become brittle and lift from the nail bed.

Caring for the toenails, such as keeping them short and clean, may help manage nail health and foot pain.

A person may also consider contacting a doctor if they notice nail changes. The doctor may be able to recommend additional therapies to help.

Learn more about how PsA can affect nails.

Resting or slowing down activity may help reduce pain associated with PsA.

Where possible, a person may benefit from resting if their feet begin to hurt from too much movement or standing for long periods.

Overweight or obesity may worsen symptoms of PsA.

These conditions can put additional strain on the feet’s joints, tendons, and muscles. This could aggravate pain associated with PsA.

Body fat can also stimulate the release of inflammatory substances that can aggravate inflammatory conditions, such as PsA.

People with overweight or obesity may find that maintaining a moderate weight may help alleviate some of their foot pain related to PsA.

Experts recommend losing about 1–2 pounds per week. People who lose weight gradually through lifestyle strategies, such as exercise and diet changes, may have more success than rapid weight loss or following a fad diet or exercise program.

PsA often gets worse after periods of inactivity, such as overnight or when sitting for long periods. Light to moderate exercise may help reduce swelling and pain associated with PsA in the feet.

Physical activity also has some added benefits, including:

  • helping with weight management
  • reducing the number of flare-ups
  • decreased fatigue
  • lowering the risk of comorbid conditions, such as heart disease
  • improved mood and sleep patterns
  • more energy
  • strengthening bones

A person may wish to consider exercise that does not put a lot of strain on the feet. Some exercise options include:

  • swimming
  • light waking
  • using an elliptical or stationary bike
  • yoga or other stretching exercises

It is best to contact a doctor for advice before beginning a new exercise regimen.

Learn more about PsA and exercise.

Managing PsA through medical treatment can play an important role in reducing foot pain. A person’s doctor can help them create a suitable treatment plan for managing PsA symptoms.

Different medications can help reduce PsA activity and alleviate symptoms. Examples of medications a doctor may recommend include:

  • disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which can help slow the progression of PsA and help prevent flare-ups
  • biologics, which are complex medications made of living cells that target specific areas of the immune system
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation throughout the body

A person may also want to discuss the use of corticosteroid shots. They provide temporary relief from inflammation directly in the area where the shot gets injected.

Keeping regular appointments with a doctor can help them monitor the progression of the condition and adjust medications as needed.

Learn more about PsA medications.

PsA causes systemic, or body-wide, inflammation and swelling.

PsA can directly affect the entheses. The entheses are where ligaments or tendons connect to bones. In PsA, this can cause heel pain or pain in the bottom of the foot.

Learn more about how PsA can affect the feet.

The following section answers some frequently asked questions about PsA foot pain.

Why do my feet hurt so bad with psoriatic arthritis?

The inflammation from PsA can affect the connective tissue in the feet. This can manifest as pain in the foot or both feet.

What part of the foot hurts with psoriatic arthritis?

PsA can cause pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. It can also cause pain in other areas, such as the toes, and cause changes in the toenails.

What does psoriatic arthritis foot pain feel like?

PsA can cause an aching pain in the affected joints. Joints may also feel warm to the touch. A person may also notice their pain worsens after periods of rest.

How do you calm a psoriatic arthritis flare-up?

A person should continue to take their PsA medication as their doctor has prescribed. This can help shorten the duration of a flare-up and help prevent additional flare-ups from occurring.

PsA can respond differently to interventions. Some people may find light exercise works well for their PsA, while others may find relief from icing the area or soaking their feet.

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) can cause foot pain, swelling, and stiffness. Many home remedies and medical treatments may help alleviate foot pain.

Home remedies include applying ice, soaking the feet, wearing supportive footwear, and more. Medications such as NSAIDs can reduce pain, while DMARDs and biologics may help slow disease progression.

It is best for a person to contact a doctor if they experience foot pain. The doctor can help monitor the condition and make suggestions for treatments.