Assistive Devices

Assistive devices can make life easier for people with arthritis or related conditions. Speak with your arthritis health-care team about assistive devices that might be right for you.

These devices can take a variety of forms, below is a list of many available today. If you’d like to learn more about assistive devices for the computer, read our article about making computing easier.

• Canes or crutches can make it easier to walk for those with arthritis of the knee or hip.
• Orthotics, inserts in shoes, or orthopedic shoes can make walking more comfortable for those with painful feet.
• Braces and splints can decrease strain on the joints.
• Chairs with elongated legs can make it easier to stand and sit.
• Tub or shower seats make bathing more comfortable, and nonskid mats can decrease the risk of falling.
• A raised toilet seat with siderails can make it easier to sit and stand.
• For those with arthritis of the hands, an electric toothbrush with wide handles can make brushing easier.
• Long-handled sponges can facilitate washing legs, feet, and back.
• Reachers (long rods with grip handles on one end and pincers or grabbing mechanisms on the other) allow people to pick up small objects without having to reach beyond their comfort zone.
• Automatic jar openers, which grip jars and twist off caps, can reduce strain in the hands.
• Levers can replace knobs and faucets, obviating the need for gripping and twisting.
• Pulls with large rings on the tabs can make zippers easier to grab and zip.
• Shoes with VELCRO® brand grips can make dressing easier.
• Clothes with large buttons and pockets can make dressing easier for people with arthritis.
• Key turners, which have large plastic handles, can provide leverage and reduce strain on the hands.

This column is written by Robert S. Dinsmoor, a medical writer and editor based in Massachusetts.

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