My husband has arthritis in his hands

My husband is 57 he has been struggling with what he is told may be arthritis in his hands. He has a number of other medical conditions. He has lost faith in his GP. How can I help him. He constantly drops things, he is a tutor but struggles as his hands hurt so much, he enjoys wood craft but has stopped as his hands hurt. I am worried he is close to giving up on everything he enjoys.


  • YvonneH
    YvonneH Member Posts: 1,076

    Hi SadSam,

    Welcome to the community, glad you have joined us especially now when there isn't so much help from GP's because of COVID-19

    Here is the factsheet regarding hand pain

    Arthritis can be osteo or anti-inflammatory, either way there is probably swelling as well as pain, grip can be affected too. I think the way to go forward now is to look at managing the condition and leave the other bits to a time when our GP's can resume their normal service.

    Ask any questions - there are many members with similar conditions who will be able to offer first hand advice and support for you both

    Take care

    Yvonne x

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    I have widespread OA, it started years ago in my spine and quickly went into hands and wrists; now 61 it is everywhere. I went from a very active former serviceman to a cripple and it sometimes feels like I gave up most of my life. I have black days but in reality it is a case of adapting and finding things that one can do. I drop things so I have "grippers" in each room and in my garage; I have my keys on a chain attached to my belt so that when I drop them I don't have to pick them up; I have a thing to help me put my socks on; cructhes; wheelchair and other things to help me. I sit in my recliner in front of the TV most of the day but I too like woodwork and have equipped my garage with a lathe and various other bench mounted machines to make life easier. I am also building a table-top model railway layout which has taken me 6 months so far, I aim to get it completed by xmas but I have not been daft enough to say which year! Depending on how I am on a particular day I can do woodwork or train stuff up to half and hour before I need to rest but invariably most of the time it is in 10 minute bursts. For example, making a small building for the train layout can take over a week. Luckily your hubby has you to support him, I just have a cat although I would not swap her for the world. Tell him not to give up everything he enjoys, hard though it is to get one's head around it. If he wants to chat get him to PM me and I will try to help. Buy him a train set!

  • crinkly1
    crinkly1 Member Posts: 156

    Hello Sadsam,

    I'm so sorry to hear of your husband's very painful and frustrating hand OA.

    I remember all too well how I was affected when I first developed this and how long it has taken to adapt to it.

    Most important is to keep using the hands in order to minimise long-term stiffness and referral to a Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist, via your husband's GP, is advisable. I understand that, nowadays splints can be prescribed for hand OA as a way of minimising deformity and I would have loved the chance to avoid some of the unsightly ways in which my fingers have become fixed.

    I realise that everyone is different but, as Mike suggests, there are a number of ways, in addition to finding the right pain meds, of dealing with the limitations and I started by enlarging the handles of cutlery, pens and other tools I found difficult to hold firmly. There are various solutions available commercially - specially adapted items and foam tubing of different radii to slip onto the handles of items most often used. Just wrapping something soft around them is a useful place to start so your husband knows exactly what helps you before spending money. (This is where an occupational Therapist can give valuable advice.)

    There are also home-treatments that can relieve the pain and stiffness, albeit temporarily, so he needs to discover whether heat or cold works best. That can be tested by soaking the hands for several minutes in a basin of water before considering investment in ice packs, heat packs or even a wax bath (which remains my method of choice after trying it out with Physiotherapy support many years ago.

    Important, too, is to find the right balance between working and resting the hands - so they retain flexibility without increasing pain beyond an acceptable level. As a teacher I found that purchasing a voice-sensitive system for my PC was a real godsend. There are now free versions available online that can be tried before thinking about purchasing a more versatile system if such is needed.

    It's of little comfort now but I've found the pain becoming less with the passage of time although, by now, I have very little grip. At least I have developed ways of doing things that reduce the risk of dropping items and, in the process, have developed a lighter approach to the many breakages that have occurred. I do still get irritated by my clumsiness but enjoy the occasions when someone else in the household has a mishandling accident!

    I do hope your husband finds some relief and hope before long.


  • SadSam
    SadSam Member Posts: 3
    Thank you for the responses, I will keep on giving him a virtual kick up the jacksie so he doesn't completely stop.