Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Arthritis Health Center

Font Size

Assistive Devices and Orthotics - Topic Overview

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.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 04, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Assistive Devices and Orthotics Topics

    Today on WebMD

    Mature woman exercise at home
    Hint: Warming up first is crucial.
    feet with gout
    Quiz yourself.
    woman in pain
    One idea? Eat fish to curb inflammation.
    senior couple walking
    Can you keep your RA from progressing?
    xray of knees with osteoarthritis
    close up of man wearing dress shoes
    feet with gout
    close up of red shoe in shoebox
    two male hands
    Woman massaging her neck
    5 Lupus Risk Factors