Psoriasis and Sport: A New Ally?

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2015 Mar;29(3):515-20. doi: 10.1111/jdv.12607. Epub 2014 Jul 30.


Background: Psoriasis is a common chronic multifactorial disease which can result in restrictions to social and recreational activities. Psoriasis subjects are at high risk to develop metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Physical activity, a vital component in prevention and management of these diseases, is reported to be potentially associated in a negative way with psoriasis.

Objective: To investigate the relationship between psoriasis and physical activity.

Materials and methods: Anamnestic and physical examination as well as a specific doctor-administered questionnaire was performed to a group of 416 consecutive sportive subjects and 489 sex and age-matched controls. Moreover, similar investigations were executed on 400 consecutive psoriatic patients without psoriatic arthritis.

Results: Psoriasis was significantly more common in controls respect to sportive group (n = 27, 5.4% vs. n = 7, 1.7%, P < 0.01) whereas a positive familial history of psoriasis was observed in similar percentages in both groups (n = 51, 10.2% vs. n = 40, 9.6%). The number of subjects performing sports activities was significantly lower in psoriasis group compared to controls (n = 44, 11% vs. n = 106, 21.3%; P < 0.001). Of these psoriatic patients, 35/44 referred that sporting activities showed a positive influence on the natural course of their disease, whereas the remaining 11 patients did not highlight positive or negative influences on their illness. Interestingly, 23.75% of psoriatic patients (n = 95) related that they had regularly carried out sporting activities before the onset of the dermatosis referring that psoriasis represented a huge obstacle to continue practicing physical activities.

Conclusion: Our survey showed that regular physical activity may lower the risk of psoriasis and have a beneficial effect on the natural course of the disease, positively influencing not only the severity as well as the incidence of metabolic comorbidities, but also, through possible epigenomic, metabolic, anti-inflammatory and psycho-emotional effects, the onset of the dermatosis. However, larger birth cohort studies are needed to confirm these results.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psoriasis / etiology*
  • Sports*
  • Young Adult