Osteoarthritis: Tips for Daily Living

Making a few changes in your daily life can reduce stress on your joints. This helps protect the joints from further damage.

Your surroundings

Make your home work for you:

  • Arrange cupboards, closets, desks, and drawers to reduce reaching and bending.

  • Arrange furniture to make it safer and easier to get around.

  • Secure or remove rugs, power cords, and other items that might make you slip or trip.

Think ahead

Woman lifting plates.
Lift items with both hands.

Plan in advance:

  • Combine errands so that you make fewer trips up and down stairs.

  • Break up packages so that you carry less weight with each trip. For instance, ask cashiers to use more bags for your groceries. Also, many food stores and independent shopping services can deliver your groceries right to your home.

  • If you need help with chores or errands, try to arrange for it in advance.

  • If you need to lift something heavy, ask for help.

  • Try to use other parts of your body if you have pain in certain joints.

Use what’s available

To rest your hands, back, and neck:

  • Make sure that knives are sharp.

  • Use aids like a reacher or grasper to reach and grab.

  • Use soap-on-a-rope and a long-handled scrubber in the shower or bath.

To rest your knees, hips, and lower back:

  • Wear shoes that feel good, fit well, and provide good support.

  • Choose chairs with firm seats and armrests.

Assistive devices

Devices are available to help you:

  • In the kitchen, use lightweight dishes, cookware, and bakeware.

  • Attach larger handles to keys.

  • Use helpful gripping devices for opening jars. 

  • For gardening, use a rolling bench to sit on or to hold your tools. Use tools with padded handles.

  • In the bathroom, try using installed grab bars, a raised toilet seat, or a shower seat.

  • A cane, brace, or walker may help you walk more easily. Make sure that it’s correctly fitted and that you’re trained to use it.

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