Winter Tips for Arthritic Hand Sufferers
Jan 31, 2013 08:29AM
By Heidi Richardson
With temperatures getting colder, individuals that experience arthritis in their hands may be faced with the challenge of keeping their extremities pain-free this winter season. Most patients claim that weather patterns such as cold and rainy days trigger more discomfort than warm, dryer days. Here are some things that people with this debilitating joint condition can do to help alleviate orthopedic pain.
Keep hands warm
Arthritis patients should make sure that when exposed to the cold, they keep their hands warm. This includes wearing lightweight gloves, even when indoors. In particular, Andrews Institute experts recommend that patients don gloves that do not cover the tips of their fingers for indoor use. The light compression and neutral warmth can be beneficial and relieve pain.
Be careful in the kitchen
To make kitchen tasks easier on busy hands, people can treat themselves to kitchen utensils with larger and softer handles, which are easier on the small joints in the fingers and require less effort overall.
Keep joints active
Finally, perhaps one of the easiest and most effective things to do to keep hands dexterous and pain-free is to keep them busy. When discomfort turns into pain, “active rest” is recommended until symptoms decrease or subsides. However, completely stopping enjoyable activities is not the best idea. “Motion is lotion” to both a healthy and arthritic joint.
Heidi Richardson, OTR/L, CHT, is an occupational therapist with Andrews Institute Rehabilitation. For more information about the Andrews Institute Hand Center or hand therapy services, call 850-916-8700, option 1, or visit AndrewsHandCenter.com.