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Hand osteoarthritis: Practical advice

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Hands: Practical advice

 

Here you will find some tips to help you in your everyday life. And more specifically some simple things that can relieve your pain and help you in your various daily activities.

 

Click on your chosen item:

Household chores

 

Window cleaning:

 

For cleaning windows, you can use a squeegee with a telescopic handle This will help you avoid straining to reach the top of the windows. In addition, to make it easier to handle, consider adding a foam sleeve to your squeegee. This will avoid tensing the joints of your hand too much.

A steam device can also be an effective solution.

 

Mopping the floor:

 

The mop, this is a good example of an object of torture for your hands! To put an end to painful wringing out, you should choose a mop and mop bucket equipped with a squeezer system.

 

Carrying buckets:

 

Buckets are often heavy and therefore difficult to carry.

To avoid lifting it, slide the bucket onto a tray on wheels using your foot to push it along. This will avoid putting pressure on your hands.

You can also find buckets equipped with wheels in the shops.

This system can also be used for plant pots.

 

 

Cooking:

 

Bottles:


Favour pitchers which are easier to hold. Always place one hand in the handle and the other under the pitcher, allowing better weight distribution and thus spare your joints.
You can also find pitchers in the shops where you can insert your cartons of milk or fruit juice.

 

Glasses and cups:


If you have trouble holding a glass in your hand favour stemmed glasses over a normal glass as they are easier to grasp and hold.
Also, for your choice of coffee mugs, opt for a mazagran (thick china goblet), easier to hold with its foot or a bowl with handles, easier to hold on to.

Moreover, in another register, if you have trouble cutting your pills, in pharmacies or shops you can find pill-cutter devices which will help you cut your medication without hurting your fingers.

 

Jars and tins:


There are several systems that can help you open jars without too much stress on your hands. First of all the use of non-slip mat under the jar to help you hold on to it, or on the lid to prevent your hand from slipping when you turn it.
There are also "jar openers" available that are placed on the lid and greatly facilitate opening them.
For opening cans or tins, you can find a "little hook" device in shops that allows you to lift up the ring without hurting your fingers. Using an electric tin opener is also a very good solution.

 

Cutlery and saucepans:


To put less stress on the joints of your hands, choose lightweight cutlery and saucepans: with thick handles.
You can also equip the handles of cutlery or saucepans with foam sleeves to increase the diameter and make it easier to grasp them. These sleeves can be found in medical supplies shops, but a piece of duct tape can also be used.

 

Plates:


It is preferable to carry plates with both hands to spare the joints of your fingers.

 

Cupboards:

Choosing suitable places for objects in cupboards can help to reduce your daily difficulties by avoiding painful movements of your fingers. Thus, heavy items and those that you use frequently should not be stored either too high up or too low down. Lastly, to reach the highest shelves, you can use a lightweight stepping stool (but be careful not to fall off). If you do not feel comfortable with this, there are gripper devices that grab hold of any kind of object without any difficulty either from a high or low shelf (Long handle equipped with a magnetised jaw at the end)

Personal hygiene:

 

Tubes of toothpaste: 

If you experience problems opening tubes of toothpaste or squeezing out the contents, the new packaging in a rigid tube with a dispenser is very effective. Simply push the button at the top.

 

Hair brush: 

To put less stress on the joints of your fingers, choose a lightweight brush: with a thick handle. You can also equip the handles of brushes with foam sleeves to increase the diameter and make it easier to grasp them. These sleeves can be found in medical supplies shops, but a piece of duct tape can also be used.

  

Making your bed:

Two tips can help you make your bed.
First of all, avoid placing your bed against the wall. You will not have to move it to make it.
Lastly, choose a duvet rather than sheets as it requires less effort to make your bed and does not need tucking in.

  

Getting dressed: 

If you have trouble with zips you can place a ring or a piece of wool yarn through the loop to pull it more easily. To do up your buttons, you can use a button hook and you will not have to grasp either the button or the buttonhole.

DIY tasks

 

To be able to hold your tools more easily we recommend you equip the handles of your tools with foam sleeves to increase the diameter and make it easier to grasp them. These sleeves can be found in medical supplies shops, but a piece of duct tape can also be used.

 

Gardening:

 

To be able to hold your gardening tools more easily we recommend you equip the handles of your tools with foam sleeves to increase the diameter and make it easier to grasp them. These sleeves can be found in medical supplies shops, but a piece of duct tape can also be used.

 

Taps, handles, keys, plugs and switches

 

Door handles:

 

Avoid round door knobs that are difficult to grasp and require more effort on the wrist and fingers. Favour lever handles

 

Keys:

 

There is a small object which enables adding a handle to the key. It then enables having it well in hand to open the locks without effort.

 

Electric switches:

 

Favour ultra flat switches which turn on with a light press of the finger.

 


Taps:

 

Opt if for mixer taps if you can, which allow a simple up and down movement to turn the water on and off. If you cannot change your installation you can use a tap opener or an adjustable wrench.

Desk work: 
 

Using computers: 

To preserve your hands, you can place a foam pad in front of your keyboard to rest your wrists on. You can also place your mouse on a sloping mat which will avoid needless twisting of your wrist.

Position the screen, keyboard and the seat in the same alignment as much as possible to avoid twisting your spine.
 

Pens and pencils: 

Choose thick and light pens to put as little stress as possible on the joints of your fingers.

We advise you to equip your pens with foam or rubber enlarging tubes (available in medical supplies shops and some stationers). 
 

Luggage: 
 

Shopping bags:
If you have trouble carrying your bags you could opt for a backpack, provided of course not to overload it to safeguard your back. But the simplest solution is home delivery; many retailers now offer this service. 
 

Handbags: 
Choose a shoulder bag or backpack that does not need to be hand-held but take care not to overload it to safeguard your back.