Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Self-care measures can help relieve pain, improve mobility and ultimately increase your independence. Here's what may help:

  • Perform range-of-motion exercises. Exercises that move your thumb through its full range of motion can help improve your joint's mobility. Your doctor or a hand therapist can demonstrate the specific techniques.
  • Modify hand tools. Consider purchasing jar openers, key turners and large zipper pulls designed for people with limited hand strength. Enlarge the handles on garden tools, kitchen utensils and writing devices — or buy items with large handles. Replace traditional door handles, which you must grasp with your thumb, with levers. Adaptive equipment is often available by catalog. Ask your doctor or hand therapist for recommendations.
  • Apply heat or cold. Your doctor may recommend using heat or cold — or alternating between them to help relieve swelling and pain and to soothe your joints.
  • Avoid hand clenching when you carry things. Choose a purse with a sturdy elbow or shoulder strap instead of a short handle. Instead of using grocery bags with handles, use boxy paper bags you can balance on your hip and arm.

Talk to your doctor about other equipment and ideas that may be helpful for you.

Jun. 19, 2012