Quick Tips: Modifying Your Home and Work Area When You Have Arthritis
The pain and stiffness from arthritis may make it hard
for you to do your daily tasks. For instance, if you have problems with your
hands or fingers, you may find it hard to type or to open and close a door. If
you have problems with your hips or knees, it may be hard to go up and down
stairs or get in and out of a chair.
When these everyday tasks get
harder to do, you may feel tired and frustrated. But there are some changes you
can make in your home and work area that can help you move more easily and with
Use doorknob covers to make opening doors easier. Or replace round doorknobs with handles
that have a lever so you don't have to use a whole grip to twist the doorknob
open. You can just push down on the handle with your hand or even your elbow.
This takes the strain off of your wrist and fingers.
Use a reacher to pick up things off the floor or grab items
that are high up in cabinets or closets.
Use padded or large-handled tools to make objects such as keys, silverware, kitchen
pots and pans, combs, and toothbrushes easier to hold.
Use electric tools, such as can openers, blenders, and power
tools, to make it easier to open cans, mix things, or do home repairs.
Use higher chairs or seat cushions to
avoid sitting in chairs that are very low and hard to get in and out
Put a raised seat on your toilet to make
it easier to sit down and stand up.
Put grab bars in your bathroom to help you get in and out of the shower or tub.
And put no-slip tape in the bathtub. All of these things can also help prevent
Use a tall stool for tasks that you
would normally do standing up such as working in the kitchen or wood
Use buttonhooks, long-handled
shoehorns, and sock pullers to make getting dressed easier. And use Velcro
instead of small buttons or snaps on your clothes.
You can find some of these devices and tools online, in
medical supply stores and catalogs, and in local retail and home improvement
Use carts or carriers with wheels to move objects such as heavy boxes or furniture. If you can't
use these items all the time, learn to lift an object safely. Be sure to keep
the object close to you as you lift it. Bend your knees and keep your back
straight as you grasp the object, then straighten your knees to lift it
Use an adjustable chair that supports
your lower back and lets you adjust the height so your feet rest flat on the
Use a computer keyboard tray that is
big enough to hold your keyboard and mouse. And be sure the height of the tray
can be adjusted to a spot that allows you to type with no pain. There are other
types of keyboards, including split or curved keyboards, that may work better
Use a computer trackball mouse or touch pad instead of a standard computer mouse to reduce strain on your hand,
wrist, and shoulder.
Adjust your computer monitor so that the top of the screen is at about eye level to reduce
strain on your neck.
Arrange your desk or work area so that the things you use the most are easy to reach and you don't
have to lean, bend, or twist to get them.
Sit up straight to do your work, and take the stress off your back. Relax your
shoulders, keep your feet flat on the floor, and don't lean forward too
Take breaks to stretch or get out of
your chair. This can help keep your muscles loose and your joints moving
An occupational therapist can help you make these and
other changes to your home and work area.
Other Places To Get Help
Arthritis Foundation (U.S.)
P.O. Box 7669
Atlanta, GA 30357
The Arthritis Foundation provides grants to help find a
cure, prevention methods, and better treatment options for arthritis. It also
provides a large number of community-based services nationwide to make living
with arthritis easier, including self-help courses; water- and land-based
exercise classes; support groups; home study groups; instructional videotapes;
public forums; free educational brochures and booklets; the national, bimonthly
consumer magazine Arthritis Today; and continuing
education courses and publications for health professionals.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and
Skin Diseases (NIAMS), National Institutes of Health
1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
1-877-22-NIAMS (1-877-226-4267) toll-free
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal
and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) is a governmental institute that serves the public
and health professionals by providing information, locating other information
sources, and participating in a national federal database of health
information. NIAMS supports research into the causes, treatment, and prevention
of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases and supports the training of
scientists to carry out this research.
The NIAMS website provides
health information referrals to the NIAMS Clearinghouse, which has information
packages about diseases.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.