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Hand arthritis pain can be very painful. It has the potential to affect nearly every aspect of life. From opening doors, jars, cans and medicine bottles, to causing difficulty grasping everyday utensils and clothing items. Here are some top tips to reduce the stress on your joints while engaging in the activities you perform every day.

1.) Respect Pain. Pain is there to let you know that you are overdoing it even if it seems like the littlest things can cause a flare up. If you have joint pain that last for more than two hours after an activity that is a good indicator that you may have over done it and should try easing your way into activities.
2.) Avoid Unnecessary Stress To Joints. You should always try to use the biggest joint for tasks. For example, try to carry grocery bags with your elbow instead of your hands. Additionally, try using both hands to put away items in the kitchen and garage in hard to reach places. It is also important to avoid a tight and unnecessary grasp. This can sometimes can be accomplished by using adaptive equipment like built up handles, electric can openers and devices to help you dress.
3.) Maintain Strength and Range of Motion. An occupational or physical therapist can show you exercises to keep your joints moving and to increase grip strength. A loss of range of motion and strength means a loss of function! If your joints are hot or swollen it is best to rest and avoid activities that put stress on them. If you wake up feeling stiff and sore, a heating regimen and appropriate exercise can really help kick-start your day.

Here at Summit Rehabilitation Associates we have therapists that are skilled at applying these principles and can help to educate you on pain management techniques, joint protection, adaptive equipment consultation, and exercises to help you maintain joint range of motion to strength. We would love to see if there are any services we can provide to help you reduce your hand arthritis pain and get you back to doing the things you love.

 

This article was written by our OT, Andy Peaker who specializes in upper extremity injuries. Andy works at both of our offices.