Living with arthritis made easier with simple changes

By the time they are 85 years old, nearly half of women and one quarter of men will experience stiffness and pain in their hands from osteoarthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Daily quality of life diminishes as people deal with regular swelling, inflammation, and pain that limits hand mobility and makes it difficult or impossible to grasp objects.

Osteoarthritis breaks down the protective cartilage between joints, causing the bones to rub together and creating discomfort. But the loss of cartilage also leads to the formation of bone spurs that can make your fingers lose their normal shape and make it harder to pinch, grasp, turn, and hold items in your hands.

It might start with pain that comes and goes, hands that are stiff in the morning, and pain that worsens the more you try to do with your hands. As the arthritis progresses, the pain might become more constant and even things that used to be simple now feel like impossible tasks.

When your hands and fingers are healthy and working normally, you likely never think about all the tasks that involve pinching, grabbing, turning, or gripping. But if you have arthritis in your hands, you have to find new ways to turn on and off lamps with small knobs, hold keys and turn them in locks, fasten a watch or a favorite bracelet, and so many more tasks.

Challenges with pinching and turning

Some of the biggest challenges for people with arthritis are trying to work with small objects such as keys or lamp knobs. Swollen joints and lack of mobility in fingers can make it hard to pinch small, thin surfaces, and weakness can make it hard to turn and twist objects.

People with arthritis often look for ways to modify many of their daily living tasks to make them easier to do with less pain and discomfort. Key grips and lamp knob levers are popular choices because they provide a wider, more ergonomic and comfortable surface to grip. They also provide leverage assistance to make turning keys and knobs much simpler. This reduces discomfort that can arise with twisting motions and helps people add ease back into daily tasks.

Maintaining independence

As arthritis progresses, it can rob people of some of their independence. Things they always used to do by themselves aren’t easy when their hands no longer have the same strength and mobility they once did.

For people who like to wear bracelets or watches with clasps, the challenge of putting them on is a reminder that they often need help with seemingly simple tasks. Bracelet assists allow people to still wear favorite jewelry or watch pieces and do so without assistance. The knowledge that they can comfortably do this own helps to preserve dignity and independence.