Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, and usually affects the same joint on both sides of the body at the same time. When you develop Rheumatoid Arthritis, it tends to hit your hands and feet first, before the larger joints of the body. The pain of arthritis can make it difficult to pick up objects or to walk easily, so you will have to learn some safety rules in order to avoid injury.
Hand Pain is Worst
Hand strength can often be the first thing noticeably affected by RA, as the small joints of the hands and fingers are well supplied with nerves and therefore the pain of arthritis is particularly bad in the hands. If this happens to you, you will need to be extra cautious while cooking or doing anything with boiling liquids, heavy pots or pans, or anything sharp. One of the best things you can do to keep yourself injury-free is to plan ahead. You will need to check the weight of a pot before assuming that you can lift it, by doing a sort of “test lift” to see if your hands can cope with the weight, while being prepared to set the pot down again immediately if it turns out that you cannot lift it without extreme pain. You will also need to be extra careful with knives, because your grip may not be reliable, which affects your dexterity with a knife.
It is a good idea to keep your knives properly sharpened, because it is much more likely that you will cut yourself with a dull knife than it is with a sharp one.
If you have arthritis in your feet, it can have a detrimental effect on your posture, your balance, and your coordination. Arthritis pain usually abates after a few minutes of being on your feet, though, so if you can use a piece of furniture or a wall or railing for a little help with your balance for just the first couple of minutes, then you will usually be able to walk quite well on your own. You will need to use a little forethought, in order to make sure that you have something to help you stand until the pain eases off.
If your hands and/or feet are extremely painful, you may want to reassess your ability to drive a vehicle, or at least make sure that you do some range of motion exercises prior to getting behind the wheel, so that you will have your usual level of control over the vehicle. It is much better to live with the inconvenience of taking the bus than it is to live with the guilt of having caused an accident.
Don’t be unrealistic
It is important that you honestly assess your ability to do things before you actually try to do them, and take every precaution to make sure that your arthritis doesn’t end up causing you injury.