Northside Health Library

Making everyday tasks easier - arthritis


As the pain from arthritis becomes worse, keeping up with everyday activities may become more difficult or painful.

Sometimes making changes around the home will take some stress off your knee and relieve some of the pain.

Use of a simple cane in your hand on the other side of your painful leg may make walking much easier and less painful

Make Your Home Easier

Make sure you can reach everything you need without getting on your tiptoes or bending down low.

  • Keep clothes that you wear a lot in drawers and shelves that are between waist and shoulder level.
  • Store food in a cupboard and drawers that are between waist and shoulder level.

Find ways to avoid needing to search for important items during the day. You can wear a small fanny or waist pack in order to have a portable phone, your wallet, and your keys with you.

Get automatic light switches installed.

If going up and down stairs is very hard:

  • Make sure everything you need is on the same floor where you spend most of your day.
  • Have a bathroom or a portable commode on the same floor where you spend most of your day.
  • Set up your bed on the main floor.

Other Types of Help

Find someone to help with housecleaning, taking out the garbage, gardening, and other household activities or tasks.

Ask someone to shop for you or have your food delivered.

Check your local pharmacy or medical supply store for different aids that can help with reaching, getting dressed, using the toilet, and other activities.

  • A raised toilet seat
  • A shower chair
  • A shower sponge with a long handle
  • A shoehorn with a long handle
  • A sock-aid to help you put on your socks
  • A reacher to help you pick up things from the floor

Ask about having bars installed on the walls by the toilet, shower or bath, or elsewhere in your home.

Review Date: 8/12/2011
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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