Osteoarthritis: Tips for Daily Living
Making a few changes in your daily life can reduce stress on your joints. This helps protect the joints from further damage.
Make your home work for you:
- Arrange cupboards, closets, desks, and drawers to reduce reaching and bending.
- Arrange furniture to make it safer and easier to get around.
- Secure or remove rugs, power cords, and other items that might make you slip or trip.
Plan in advance:
- Combine errands so that you make fewer trips up and down stairs.
- Break up packages so that you carry less weight with each trip. For example, ask cashiers to use more bags for your groceries.
- If you need help with chores or errands, try to arrange for it in advance.
- If you need to lift something heavy, ask for help.
- Try to use other parts of your body if you have pain in certain joints.
Use what's available
To rest your hands, back, and neck:
- Make sure that knives are sharp.
- Use a "reacher" or "grasper" to reach and grab.
- Use soap-on-a-rope and a long-handled scrubber in the shower or bath.
To rest your knees, hips, and lower back:
- Wear shoes that feel good, fit well, and provide good support.
- Choose chairs with firm seats and armrests.
Devices are available to help you:
- In the kitchen, use light-weight dishes, cook and bakeware.
- Attach larger handles to keys.
- Use helpful gripping devices for opening jars.
- For gardening, use a rolling bench to sit on or to hold your tools. Use tools with padded handles.
- In the bathroom, try using grab bars, a raised toilet seat, or a shower seat.
- A cane, brace, or walker may help you walk more easily. Make sure that it's properly fitted and that you're trained to use it.