Ergonomic aids for arthritis

If you have arthritis, you know how pain, stiffness and fatigue can interfere with your ability to perform tasks at work. The physical and stressful challenges of managing a chronic disease in the workplace can be too much to bear, forcing some with arthritis to leave their job or switch careers.

The good news is that you can continue working with arthritis by making the necessary adjustments to your work space. There are many comfortable, inexpensive ergonomic aids suitable for any work environment that protect the joints from excess wear and tear:

• If you use a computer, you may want to use a split keyboard so your hands, wrists and forearms are in a more natural position.

• Use a specially designed mouse called a trackball mouse, which reduces the amount of hand and arm movement.

• Use voice-activated software to reduce the amount of typing on a keyboard.

• Use an electric stapler or hole-puncher.

• Use a telephone headset to reduce the amount of neck side bending required to hold the phone receiver.

• Use a sit/stand stool.

• Use extended reachers to reach for items on the floor to cut down on kneeling or squatting.

Before trying these aids, The Arthritis Society recommends that you consult your health-care provider. Further information on this topic is available online at