Tools That Make Everyday Life Easier with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Trust us… you’ll want to keep these handy.

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Nobody with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) wants to deal with pins and needles—in their fingers, or with their fingers. Gripping items can be difficult when you’re dealing with RA symptoms like joint pain and stiffness. For many people with rheumatoid arthritis, it might be helpful to keep certain tools and assistive devices on hand.

What tools may make living with rheumatoid arthritis easier?

When your fingers and other joints are stiff and swollen, tasks like getting dressed, patching a hole, and making breakfast can be challenging.

“Simple tasks are very difficult for people living with RA and it's because of the pain,” says Iris Navarro-Millan, MD, rheumatologist and assistant attending physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery. “Things that we take for granted are not that easy for people with rheumatoid arthritis.”

A good treatment plan can help reduce these symptoms. However, there are also tools and devices that can give you an extra hand. In general, these can minimize the amount of gripping, squeezing, and reaching that you’ll have to do when you’re experiencing pain and stiffness.

Examples include:

  1. A long neck shoe horn
  2. Attachments to reach a back zipper
  3. Pullover clothes without small buttons
  4. Electric can openers
  5. Cutting mandolins
  6. Food processors
  7. Jar lid openers
  8. Reachers with long handled gripping mechanisms
  9. Bars near the bathtub and toilet

And don’t forget, sometimes starting the day with a warm shower might also help make your morning routine easier. The warmth helps to decrease the inflammation in the joints, so you may have less pain and stiffness as you start the day. Altogether, these tips can help you continue to live more independently and build your self-esteem on top of your strength.

Is it okay to ask for help?

Don’t be afraid to lean on social support. You might feel like you’re being a burden, but your friends and loved ones want you to feel your best.

If your symptoms are severely getting in the way of your daily activities, it might be time to talk to your doctor about your treatment. The right treatment for you should help minimize pain, stiffness, and swelling, so you can enjoy a more independent and comfortable life.

Learn more tips here from fashion designer Michael Kuluva about how he manages RA pain.