Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic condition that affects more than 18% of adults over the age of 45 in the UK. People with osteoarthritis experience joint pain that can be debilitating. Most commonly, hands, neck, lower back, knees, and hips are sources of pain. Osteoarthritis is caused by a wearing down of cartilage at the ends of bones. This happens gradually and worsens over time. The pain and other symptoms of OA vary greatly from person to person. Some people may experience almost no pain while other may have severe pain and decreased movement.
Typically, a rheumatologist will diagnose OA. Patients with OA may also see physical therapists, occupational therapists, or other health care providers to diagnose and treat the symptoms. Although there is no cure for OA, gentle exercise, weight loss, and drug therapies can help manage the symptoms. In severe cases, surgery may be performed. In addition to these treatments, adaptive devices can make daily living with OA easier.
Daily Living Aids for People with OA
The pain and stiffness that accompanies OA can make small tasks like getting dressed or walking quite difficult. Painful knees make walking hard and stairs or other obstacles more difficult. Patients with OA in their hands can have difficulty tying shoes or buttoning shirts and pants. Fortunately, there are a variety of assistive devices to help make living with OA easier.
No one wants to be trapped inside or confined to a chair because of joint pain, particularly in knees or hips. Many options exist to making walking inside and outside the home easier, including: walking sticks, crutches, walking frames, rollators, and tri-walkers. If mobility is severely impacted, a wheelchair or power wheelchair may be better for you. Choosing the right walking aid depends on your pain level and other medical concerns. Check with your health care provider to decide which walking aid is best for your lifestyle.
Daily Living Aids
Getting dressed or cooking a meal can be incredibly difficult and painful for patients with OA in their hands. A variety of tools exists to make these daily living tasks easier. Combination sock aid and long handle shoe horn take the pain out of protecting your feet while button hooks and zipper pulls help you keep your independence.
In the kitchen, open jars and preparing a meal is made easier with a variety of tools. Bottle openers and can pullers help people with OA retain their independence and enjoy their favorite foods and beverages. Once the meal is made, special cutlery or scoop plates make it easier for people with OA to enjoy the meal they’ve made without help. Two handled mugs or special drinking cups mean your favorite beverage is always accessible. And if you’re wanting a hot beverage, try a kettle tipper to ensure the pain of OA doesn’t cause a kitchen accident.
Thanks to the many mobility aids available, people with OA can still lead active, independent lives.