Joints affected by arthritis are usually weaker and less stable than ‘normal’ joints. This makes them more vulnerable to damage, particularly from twisting or repetitive movements.
As soon as you find out you have arthritis, it is important to start looking after your joints. Small changes in the way you do things can greatly reduce the stress on your joints and help prevent problems becoming worse in the future.
Balance work and rest
When doing tasks around the house, set a steady pace and take a break before you get tired and sore. Alternate periods of rest and actrivity during the day. As a rough guide, try to take a 10 – 15 minute rest every one and a half hours.
You can also rest different joints and muscles throughout the day by regularly changing activities. For example, switch from an activity that requires standing to one that allows you to sit so that you can rest your legs and back.
Remember, don’t overdo things on ‘good days’ as it could result in pain and fatigue the following days.
Practical tips to help you work smarter, not harder
- Use a trolley, plastic bucket or basket to transport the cleaning supplies
- If you have a two story home, have cleaning supplies on both levels to avoid carrying products up/down stairs
- Wearing gloves can give you a better grip – particularly when scrubbing
- Use a lightweight iron, such as a travel iron when ironong clothes
- Hang wet clothes on hangers to reduce time spent ironing
- When watering plants, use smaller containers with handles to reduce the weight you have to carry
- Slide objects along a bench, rather than lifting them
- Rather than standing, sit down at a table when chopping vegetables for dinner
- Wrap foam or twist rubber bands around handles for a softer, more flexible and larger surface grip
- Make use of long handled dusters and cleaners to elimate bending, such as cobweb brooms and long handled squeegees for shower screens