Assistive devices and orthotics are tools that help you hold objects, open and close things, transfer weight while shifting positions, or walk. It is important to find a balance between use and rest of a painful (arthritic) joint. When exercise is not enough to control pain, assistive devices and orthotics may help to reduce stress on a joint by shifting weight off of the joint. The Arthritis Foundation at 1-800-283-7800 or a medical supply company may be able to help you find assistive devices.
Assistive devices should be used in combination with exercise.
- A cane or crutch used on the side opposite a painful knee or hip can help reduce stress on the joint.
- Braces and splints can be used in certain situations to help decrease pain by relieving joint strain.
- Stools, carts, trash cans, or other objects on wheels can be pushed rather than carried or lifted.
- Doorknob extenders can be used to open doors without twisting the doorknob.
- An elevated toilet seat may be helpful, especially for a painful knee or hip.
- Molded or padded handles make objects such as keys, kitchen gadgets, combs, or toothbrushes easier to hold.
- Velcro fasteners on clothes can replace buttons and are easier to use than small buttons or snaps. Large pull tabs make zippers easier to hold and pull.
- Electrical appliances (such as can openers, scissors, or power tools) can reduce the need for twisting movements.
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Current as of: March 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Joan Rigg, PT, OCS - Physical Therapy