What are some common therapies for arthritis of the hand?

Krista Storms, OT, discusses common hand therapies for arthritis. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

What are some common therapies for arthritis of the hand?

When we have patients come to us with arthritis of the hand, a lot of times they have swelling that occurs. Either during the day or at night. So one of the first things we often do is have them wear compression gloves at night. That reduces the swelling that occurs over night. And in the morning that helps prevent some of that stiffness and pain that they have. The other thing is we look at their daily living skills. It's often very difficult to open a jar, so we have them use some of the jar openers that provider tacky things to give them a better grip. We often have them by a jar opener where you can slip anything as small as a ketchup jar to a mayonnaise jar. And it allows them to open it more easily. Writing is often a problem so there are simple things like foam pieces that you can slide over your pen or pencil, you can slide it on a fork or a knife and it really helps them throughout their daily life.

They also often benefit from the use of a unit that can be purchased retail called paraffin bath that gives them deep heat and relief of their symptoms. We also teach them exercises and often we have to do some type of splinting just to rest the finger or the wrist, whatever part may be involved.


Many patients with arthritis in the hand experience swelling, either during the day or at night. One of the first things we recommend is wearing compression gloves at night to reduce swelling. This also prevents morning stiffness and pain. 

We also look at daily living skills. It can be difficult to open a jar, so we provide jar openers that provide a better grip or assist someone with removing a lid. Writing is often a problem, too. Simple devices, like foam pieces that you slide over a pen or pencil, or a fork or knife, can really help with activities of daily life.

A paraffin bath can also provide symptom relief through deep heat therapy. These units can be purchased in a retail store. We also teach patients exercises. Sometimes we splint the finger or wrist or whatever part of the hand is involved, to force rest.

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