Hip pain from psoriatic arthritis (PsA) can be painful and interfere with daily activities — including walking, standing, and sitting. This, in turn, can make it difficult to work, engage in your favorite physical activities, or even enjoy sitting down to a meal with friends and family. Fortunately, there are some ways to manage hip pain from PsA.
PsA is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects around 7 percent to 30 percent of people with psoriasis. You can develop PsA first, but in most cases, the joint disease follows the skin condition. An estimated 85 percent of people with PsA also have psoriasis. Between 7 percent and 15 percent of people with PsA experience hip pain.
If PsA is causing you pain in your hips, speak with your doctor. They can work with you to come up with the right treatment for your diagnosis aimed at easing your pain, slowing disease progression, and delaying future joint problems.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the treatments your doctor may recommend, as well as some experiences that members of MyPsoriasisTeam have had.
Some treatments that may help with pain in your hips and other joints are administered via injection. Among them are corticosteroids, or steroids, a type of anti-inflammatory drug. When injected directly into the affected joints, corticosteroids can quickly reduce pain and inflammation. Cortisone and prednisone are examples of corticosteroids.
Corticosteroid injections are a short-term solution. They are often used for flare-ups and may need to be repeated. “I have cortisone injections in my knees and hips every four months,” said one MyPsoriasisTeam member. It really helps.”
Another said, “The injection I had last month seems like it helped my hips, legs, and sacroiliac joints. The pain is mild now.”
Your doctor might also recommend injectable biologics if you have a more severe case of PsA.
Biologics used to treat PsA include tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors like:
If your PsA does not respond to one or more TNF inhibitors, your doctor might recommend additional biologics, including:
“I started on a biologic called Cimzia months ago after suffering for years with pain in my hips and other joints,” said one MyPsoriasisTeam member. “It’s a monthly injection, and it has saved my life.”
Another said, “My doctor prescribed injections, and my joint pain was greatly reduced after the first one. It’s amazing!”
Your health care provider can tell you which injections might help based on your diagnosis and treatment goals. Some injections require a trip to your doctor’s office or the hospital. Others can be done at home. Before starting a new medication, ask your doctor about the risks and side effects.
In addition to injectable corticosteroids and biologics, there are oral treatment options for PsA hip pain.
Your doctor may recommend starting with over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve). Analgesics like acetaminophen (Tylenol) help with pain relief but not inflammation.
“I take high-dose vitamin D and ibuprofen,” said one MyPsoriasisTeam member. “Tylenol and Aleve do not help me.”
If your PsA hip pain does not respond to OTC treatment options, your doctor might recommend one or more prescription medications.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are popular because they can slow disease progression and joint damage while alleviating PsA symptoms.
DMARDs used to treat PsA include:
Your rheumatologist may recommend a combination of medications to manage PsA hip pain. DMARDs and biologics can be used together.
“I am on a biologic and methotrexate,” said one MyPsoriasisTeam member. “It has helped a lot.” Another member said, “I’m taking Otezla and Stelara. So far, no more hurting feet or hips.”
You may not feel like exercising when your hips hurt, but exercise can actually help with joint pain, limited range of motion, and stiffness. For some, it also addresses the mental and emotional side effects of living with hip pain.
Low-impact exercises like walking, cycling, and swimming help you move your body without putting extra strain on your hip joints. Yoga and tai chi are popular for the same reasons.
MyPsoriasisTeam members share their exercise tips for PsA hip pain:
Whether you follow free videos on YouTube, enroll in a physical therapy program, or find other ways to exercise and move your body, talk to your doctor before starting a new fitness routine.
While there is no official PsA diet, some people find that adding or removing certain foods from their diet alleviates inflammation that may contribute to hip pain.
“It’s not easy changing my diet, but I know if I avoid red meat and sugar, I feel better,” said one MyPsoriasisTeam member. “I have been eating a plant-based diet for more than 10 years, and it has reduced my inflammation,” said another.
Foods that contribute to joint health include:
Foods that cause inflammation should be avoided or limited. This includes red meat and highly processed foods.
Maintaining a balanced diet can also help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Studies have shown that obesity is a risk factor for PsA. (Obesity is defined as having a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or higher.) Extra weight can also strain your joints, and excess fat can fuel inflammation.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, if you are obese, losing just 10 percent of your body weight may significantly improve how your body responds to treatment. For questions about diet and PsA, consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment option for psoriatic arthritis hip pain. What works for someone else may not work for you. Be willing to explore new strategies with guidance from your care team.
Also, consider taking notes to document how you feel after trying each new strategy. Remembering what you did and how it felt can help you narrow down your options until you find the right combination for your body.
In addition to injections, medication, exercise, and diet, some people find hip pain relief from:
PsA hip pain can affect your quality of life, but help is available. Start by building a care team you trust. Be sure to include a doctor who specializes in rheumatology. Then, research pain management options, explore potential solutions, and find ways to connect with others who understand.
MyPsoriasisTeam is the social network for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and their loved ones. On MyPsoriasisTeam, more than 116,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Do you have hip pain caused by psoriatic arthritis? How do you manage it? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.