Hi, does anyone have any tips on aids to help with using my hands?

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2018 at the age of 30. After trying different medications I was finally put on methotrexate and had the dose increased and switched from tablet to injection last year, but my arthritis has progressively got worse and I am now really struggling to use my hands. I was referred to occupational therapy 7 months ago and still not heard from them so I'm wondering if anyone has any tips on what I can do or use to help with everyday things like lifting the kettle or opening a jar. It is painful and I can't grip a lot. Any advice would be great 😊 thank you


  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    I have OA but also have trouble with my hands, especially thumbs, and have a lack of grip. I wear these braces:

    which are obtainable from OTs and can also be bought on-line for about £40. If you look on websites specially designed to provide disabled items, of which there are loads, you will find things like electric kettles on swivel stands, electric tin openers and so on. I have a plastic gadget to get ring pulls off tins and good for lots of tasks are squares of rubberised plastic which help with jar lids etc, you can also get foam tubing to fit over the handles of existing utensils you may have instead of buying new ones. Hope that helps.

  • Nadine33
    Nadine33 Member Posts: 3

    Thank you 😊 I've looked on websites and wasn't sure what actually works and didn't want to spend loads of money and it doesn't help. But thank you for your advice, going to look into those things now

  • Anna
    Anna Moderator Posts: 925

    Hi @Nadine33 and welcome to the online community,

    Rheumatoid arthritis can affect hands and fingers and, as you have experienced, can mean you struggle with everyday activities. Many of our members live with Arthritis and I’m sure they can offer you tips and suggestions for making your life easier.

    The Versus Arthritis website has a useful section on gadgets and home adaptations that can help you manage your arthritis. As well as equipment recommendations, they also suggest useful tips for getting things done easily:

    You might also be interested in Arthr, a new social venture that recommends useful products and is also creating new ones. They’re still new but they have some interesting items:

    I’m sure you’ll find some useful suggestions in the pages above, and no doubt our members will come along with plenty of ideas that will be worth trying out.

    Best wishes,

    Anna ( Mod)

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 660

    Hi Nadine

    When I was diagnosed with PsA my daughter bought me a number of items.


    I was also given this as a Christmas present. My wife or son fills it for me in the morning and I just use it through he day for making a cup of coffee or tea.

    I was also given fingerless compression gloves by the NHS occupational therapist I see and they help my hands.

    Hope that helps in some way

  • N1gel
    N1gel Member Posts: 160

    Near me there's something called the Disability/Independent Living Centre which has most of the household aids mentioned above for you to try out. They're a charity and staffed by Occupational Therapists, I was referred by an OT but you might be able to self refer or get an appointment to try out the non-medical aids. I don't know how widespread across the country they are but Google shows up quite a few.

  • Rosiepup
    Rosiepup Member Posts: 21

    Something I use a lot is Dycem, this is the rubberised plastic Mike1 mentioned. It comes in a thin sheet and you can cut it into whatever size you want. I use it for opening jars and bottles, picking things up, anything where I need a bit of grip. Of all the appliances and aides I have bought or been given over the years the Dycem is far and away the most useful thing, I think I must use it every day. I was originally given some by an OT many years ago after I had hand surgery, and it was so useful and lasted for years, when it eventually wore out I bought some, unfortunately it tends to come in fairly large reels which are quite expensive, maybe when you get to see the OT you could ask if they can give you a piece to see if it's something that works for you.


  • DebbieD
    DebbieD Member Posts: 2

    I have used many of the things mentioned above. For me an electric can opener, aids for easily removing plugs from sockets and an electric food processor have all really helped. I also use compression gloves at times and have some microwaveable mittens for when my hands get cold and achy. The other thing I found really helpful was a pair of pliers that I use just in the kitchen. It depends partly what type of grip you struggle with the most though. The pliers help me with the fine grip things like the inner foil lids on milk or yoghurt or microwave meals as my fingers just couldn’t get hold whereas my other hand grip was slightly better. The knobs on my cooker where also hard and the pliers helped with this too. I’m in the process of changing my taps over as they were not conducive either. I too am awaiting an occupational therapy appointment. Good luck and I hope that you get seen and help soon.

  • Rosiemoon
    Rosiemoon Member Posts: 2

    I have OA in my thumbs so they’re painful and now near useless. I have been offered trapezoid removal surgery but have an elderly relative I need to care for so there’s no way I can be out of action for months.

    I’ve bought numerous different splints, supports etc, but what I find most effective is kinesiology tape, which can be cut to almost any size off the roll, and works to support any painful joint. It doesn’t do terribly well in water, but it’s the best pain relieving remedy that actually helps support the joints.

    good luck.

  • Brynmor
    Brynmor Member Posts: 1,755
    edited 18. Jun 2021, 13:16

    Hi to both @DebbieD and @Rosiemoon - welcome to the Online Community.

    Thankyou for the great tips - I suspect we will be referencing these when we compile our list of Hints and Tips from this conversation 😀

    Do join in across the Community, ask questions, give advice or call in for a chat. You will be most welcome.

    All best wishes


  • Jennet
    Jennet Member Posts: 13

    I have osteoarthritis in both hands and the pain is insane. I got built up cutlery and a kettle tipper from the hospital's pain clinic. As I have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and over 12 months of Trigger Thumb on both hands I find the splints for Trigger Thumb allow my hands to rest whilst giving me support, for me which is mainly my thumb.

    You can buy a ball or stress relieving balls. I try to wear elasticated waist items as zips and anything small absolutely kills my hands.

    I also had an assessment from my housing association and self referred myself to Social Services for a full assessment of needs. The housing association put rails in my hallway and shower. My sink was changed to install a lever tap in the kitchen and bathroom, which I push left or right for hot or cold water. A few of the door handles and window handles were changed too. Social Services gave me a perching chair to wash the dishes, a bed strap to enable me to get in and out if bed, a shower chair and a toilet seat booster.

    Personally I will trawl through eBay and Amazon sometimes if I come across an issue with a product the general public use. For example my tin opener is from a shopping channel called QVC. You just put it on then pull the lever up and down. The tin lid is never sharp when you remove it.. fantastic !! I also improvise things for another use too. For zips I use one of those big thick paperclips. I pulled one end open, put it in the zip hole and pull open or close. Nothing yet for zips without holes as yet though. I also purchased a arm rest for my chair which has helped a lot as it's around 1 inch thick. I use salt and pepper dispensers for my spices as it's less pain to keep locating the spice, opening it, and putting it back. Now I just grab it and press the button. Some things I cannot do what I used to do. I use a lot of garlic so I but the minced garlic paste in a jar. I also buy the long life fresh milk as when I'm having a flare up it is there and has a long sell by date. When shopping I just take my time, rest and always use a trolley. I bought myself a good shopping bag from QVC which keeps my fresh and frozen food really cold. I always just pass out when I get back from shopping and this has been a life line as hours later the items are still very cold and/or frozen after I wake up.

    If you look online there are exercises for your hand. Personally I don't rate them and exercise my hands as well as cream them at least x4 each day incorporating a good firm massage. I have also learned to heed the warnings my hands give me which is redness and swelling. This I now know means do not do anything other than the basics.

  • These are golden. Thanks for asking this question. My hands are awful. I've no idea if it's arthritis really, or just menopausal rubbish but judging by the giant lump growing on my right thumb, I suspect it's osteoarthritis. I have it badly in my knees and have had one replaced so it would follow that other parts would have it, I guess.

  • CCM
    CCM Member Posts: 113

    I too find a pair of pliers useful for gripping. My kettle's handle is horizontal above the body. I grip it with the hand palm up, which means I can pour with a twist of the wrist not having to raise an elbow. My other most used trick is for lifting heavy stuffs, say a bucket of water. Form a loop with a belt having passed it through the handle. Place the arm through the loop so that the belt rests in the crook of the elbow, you can then lift without straining the wrist.