Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, 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.
1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 09, 2013
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
Slideshow
close up of man wearing dress shoes
Slideshow
 
feet with gout
Quiz
close up of red shoe in shoebox
Slideshow
 
salad
Video
two male hands
ARTICLE
 
Woman massaging her neck
Quiz
5 Lupus Risk Factors
Article