Dressing for less stress

There are over 100 different types of arthritis. The three main types are osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Each type develops differently, and all require different treatment. However, all types are painful and can lead to loss of function and possibly deformity.

Arthritis can make you feel cold and achy. You want to warm yourself in comfy garb, but putting on and removing clothes can be a chore.

Innovative makers of clothing have come up with inspired workarounds to help you. Special clothes for men and women are designed to make it easy for stiff or weak fingers to manage, all with the goal of helping you maintain your self-sufficiency.

Keep reading to learn more about the best clothing for arthritis.

It’s important to keep arthritic feet warm. “Warmth in general helps the joints feel more comfortable and more lubricated,” notes Julie Buck, co-owner of Buck & Buck Clothing.

The Seattle-based company has spent 36 years designing and providing original adaptive clothing to help people with arthritis maintain their independence. This type of clothing doesn’t just help the person with arthritis. It also makes it easier for family members or caregivers to provide dressing assistance.

If your feet hurt as you walk, padded socks can be helpful. Compression socks help if you have swelling. Since compression socks are less stretchy than regular socks, they may be difficult to get over your feet.

You can use a sock aid to put on compression or regular socks. These come in different designs, including a half-tube with attached handles. You place the sock on the tube and pull it over your foot.

People with arthritis may have problems manipulating small buttons due to pain and a lack of strength in their hands and fingers. “You want to make closings as simple as possible,” says Buck.

“It depends on how arthritis is affecting that particular person. Everyone is different. It’s the motion, whether it’s creating a lot of discomfort. There are many things that can be done. Velcro provides a much easier alternative to buttons.”

Pants with Velcro flies also make dressing much easier for men. Velcro saves time and also makes dressing and using the restroom easier.

Hook-and-loop fasteners broaden the wardrobe range for men with arthritis. Women can wear dresses, skirts, and pullovers. Men can be limited largely to pants and shirts. With fewer clothing options, men need a way to maintain their independence. Velcro is a huge help.

Polo shirts, simply pulled over the head, provide one option for men with arthritis. Another option features Velcro. These adapted shirts, which are made to resemble traditional button-down shirts and dress shirts, actually feature Velcro closings in place of the buttons.

If a shirt is designed to be worn with a tie, it has a Velcro top closing. If not, the fastenings are kept everywhere buttons would normally be, including the cuffs. Men can also take advantage of zippered neckties. With these ties, you can slide the knot up using a zipper.

Clothing adapted for arthritis patients features roomier sizing and elastic waists. “A lot of styles make the elastic so it’s a little stretchier and roomier than what you would find in the general market,” Buck notes.

Manufacturers aim to make the waists elastic enough for dressing independence. Pull-on pants may feature an all-elastic waist.

In addition to wearing specially designed clothing, you can use the following accessories and tips to make dressing easier:

  • Protectors for the wrists, arms, and legs made of polar fleece also provide warmth for the joints. In a pinch, you can cut the feet off socks to make tubes to keep your knees or elbows warm.
  • Zipper pulls can make the head of a zipper more accessible. You slip your fingers through the loop to pull the zipper.
  • Elastic laces on shoes can be tied in a semi-permanent bow. This allows you to slip your shoes on and off without retying.
  • Front closures make bras easier to manage.