For the longest time, I woke up with stiff hands every morning. The stiffness gradually wore off over a period of 2 hours or so, but I didn't like not being able to use my fingers as I was getting dressed and ready for the day. My doctor suggested that I get Arthritis Gloves and wear them while I sleep. He told me if I could't find Arthritis Gloves, that I could get Isotoner stretch driving gloves because he had had a lot of patients who said Isotoners worked just as well.
I easily found Arthritis Gloves on the drug store shelf, and I've seen them since in the health section of grocery stores. They are snug gloves that I believe are made out of Lycra. My hands feel much better when I wear these overnight. When my hands are painful, I also wear these short black gloves during the day although I get teased for "imitating Madonna".
How Do They Work?
They work through heat and mild compression. They have a snug fit and sort of massage my hands as I move them. The body heat generated from my hand is retained, just as it would be with any glove. I didn't really believe they could make much difference, but they do. (There are fancier arthritis gloves that come with balms or infrared lights. I haven't tried those. If you have, please leave a comment below and let me know how well they worked.)
Get a Grip
I really like the Arthritis Gloves for sleeping in, but there is no traction to them at all so I can't drive while wearing them. I know that some people cut the fingers out or buy similar finger-less gloves, but my fingers are what hurts the most so those options weren't good solutions for me.
When the pain of driving became too much for me, I remembered my doctor's suggestion of using Isotoner gloves. I bought a pair. They seem to be very similar to my Arthritis Gloves, but with leather bits for traction attached everywhere needed for holding a steering wheel. The Istoner gloves worked great. My hands were in much less pain than after the same distance driven without gloves.
In the video below, I am wearing the regular Arthritic Glove on my left hand and an Isotoner driving glove on my right hand so you can compare the two.
Thinking about Using Arthritic Gloves? Talk to your Doctor
A prescription is not necessary to buy arthritis gloves, but your doctor can write one for you if you ask. If you get a prescription for arthritis gloves, be sure and give a copy of it with the receipt to your tax advisor to see if you can deduct the cost of the gloves from income taxes as a medical expense.
If you use over-the-counter or prescription topical gels to reduce pain, ask your doctor if you should put gloves on over the meds. I never put my gloves on while the gel is still wet because I want the medicine to be absorbed into my hands, not into the gloves.
Other Morning Stiffness also Benefits from Staying Warm
My knees and feet were also a bit stiff in the morning, so I thought I'd see if staying warm would help them too. I started wearing leg warmers to retain heat (the knee-high kind women wore when Aerobics were first popular), and that helped my knees. Then I bought a pair of leg warmers that real dancers wear from a Danskin store in New York City. They reach from just behind my toes up to the top of my thigh, with the toe and heel open in case I decide to tap dance in high heels (not likely, but good to know). These keep my feet warm so both my knees and feet are ready to go in the morning.