Osteoarthritis: Tips for Daily Living

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.

Your surroundings

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.

Think ahead

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.

Assistive devices

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.