The morning is generally a hard time for persons who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis because of morning stiffness. The affected joints are often swollen and painful, making them harder to move. This forces people to utilize a lot of energy in the morning (energy that they may not have) just to get dressed. Because of this, several tips have been developed to help people get dressed without using too much of their energy or damaging their joints. Some of these tips are as follows:
1) Put clothing out the night before! This eliminates the need to shuffle through all of your drawers and closets in the morning, when your joints are stiff, trying to find something to wear. Forcing your joints to work hard when they are swollen and stiff uses a lot of your energy and can damage your joints. Putting out clothing the night before, when your joints are not as stiff, eliminates this problem.
2)Pre-tie your neck ties, and leave them tied. Loosen them enough so that you can get them over your head, and do not untie them every time you wear them. This eliminates a lot of work from your hands!
3)Dress your legs and feet first, as this will require the most energy. Sit down to do this to avoid having to bend as far. To dress the lower body while seated, bring one foot up and cross it over the opposite leg. Putting a pair of pants on once the leg is already up in this position prevents you from having to bend down to get the pants around your leg! You can also do this to put your shoes and socks on.
4) Wear slip on shoes when possible as this prevents the loss of energy that would be consumed by tying them. Wearing shoes with Velcro or elastic shoe laces also serves this purpose as it will still eliminate the intricate work from the joints of your hands that would be used when tying them.
5)Wear loose clothing as it is easy to adjust (example, elastic waist pants).
6) Wear clothes that fasten in the front or side, rather than the back. It is easier to see and manipulate fasteners this way, and therefore uses less energy (example, front fastening bras).
7) Buy clothes with Velcro closings when possible.
8) Wear clothes with large buttons or hooks as this reduces fatigue of the hand muscles and stress on the delicate joints of the hand.
9) Wear wrap around shirts or sweaters, rather than wasting your energy trying to get your sweater or shirt over your head in the morning.
10) Make sure that daily dressing items (such as underwear) are placed in an easy to reach drawer.
11) Use assistive devices to help you get dressed!
[References] [Return to top of page]