RA Gloves

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you most likely felt it first in the small joints of your hands. With the pain comes stiffness and swelling, which can make day-to-day life a challenge.

Occupational therapists sometimes recommend arthritis gloves to help with symptoms. You just slip them on to help ease pain and swelling. They could make it easier to deal with your daily activities.

How Therapy Gloves Help

Try all the different kinds of gloves to find the right one for you. One type keeps your hands warm. These are known as thermals. Another gives you extra support. These are called glove splints. The compression type will provide pressure on your aching fingers and hand joints. You can choose a glove with a combination of features.

In addition to easing your symptoms, they may also help you feel more relaxed and calm. The gloves aren’t going to do much to help you regain the use of your hands, but they might improve your grip.

The gloves are designed to be worn for 8 hours -- about the length of time you sleep. So if you keep them on overnight, you might see a difference in:

Swelling. Compression gloves can help with puffy fingers.

Hand pain . If you wear them at night, your hands might hurt less while you sleep.

Joint stiffness . Your fingers may be easier to move in the morning.

Use of your hand. Your grip can get better, but you’re not going to be more nimble.

The gloves, and how effective they are, really depends on you and how you react to them. They might help with one symptom but not another. Or they could have no effect at all.

Tips for Maximum Relief

  • Make sure your gloves fit well. If they're too tight or too loose, there's less chance you'll get any benefits from wearing them. Ask your doctor or therapist if you need help with fit.
  • Stick with the 8-hour rule. You probably won't see any changes if you only wear them for an hour here and there.
  • If you also have carpal tunnel syndrome, talk to your doctor before you try the gloves. Your carpal tunnel symptoms could get worse if you wear arthritis gloves at night.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on December 18, 2015

Sources

SOURCES:

Suresh, E. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, September 2004.

Nasir, S. Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease, December 2014.

Culic, D. American Journal of Physical Medicine, December 1979.

McKnight, P. Arthritis Care and Research, December 1992.

Hammond, A. Clinical Rehabilitation, March 23, 2015.

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