Today, roughly half of older adults have been diagnosed with arthritis, according to the CDC, and experts believe that number will increase to roughly 80 million by 2040. If your senior suffers from arthritis, you’ve no doubt seen firsthand the impacts of their symptoms on their daily tasks as well as the activities they enjoy.
Treatment of arthritis symptoms can vary based on the severity, mobility, progression of the disease or damage and can range from the use of over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medication and hot-and-cold therapy to surgery in some cases. As long as your senior’s physician hasn’t restricted their activities, there are many at-home remedies and exercises that offer relief.
While many tools can help treat symptoms, arthritis gloves are growing in popularity as a remedy for arthritis pain and discomfort. Arthritis gloves can be grouped into three main categories:
- Thermal gloves use heat to increase circulation and range of motion while providing pain relief.
- Gloves with built-in splints provide extra stability and help to prevent further injury.
- Compression gloves apply extra pressure to the affected joint, increasing blood flow and temperature.
Who should wear arthritis gloves?
While arthritis gloves are a form of treatment and not a cure – and scientific research on their effectiveness is limited – many older adults swear by them. If your senior experiences pain or discomfort while performing daily tasks or doing the things they love – and if they aren’t under a physician’s orders to restrict those activities – arthritis gloves can offer an easy, cost-effective way to improve their quality of life.
It’s important to do your research and consider certain features in your search:
- Fit – If you’re looking for compression gloves, a tight fit is critical, or the gloves won’t serve their purpose. Make sure they offer the right level of compression and fit properly to provide relief.
- Fabric – If your senior will be wearing their gloves for extended periods of time, look for a breathable, lightweight and odor-absorbent fabric.
- Style – From wrist wraps to fingerless, thumb braces to full-fingered, splint gloves, many designs are available, giving you plenty of options.
- Usability – If your loved one has limited range of motion or a weak grip, be sure to test whether they can put the gloves on themselves. More complex strap systems can cause problems and frustration, further limiting a senior’s independence, so it’s a good idea to review the instructions and user comments online before purchasing.
Pro tip: Amazon and other online retailers offer free returns (and, in some cases, money-back guarantees). Ordering several options online is a great way to try various styles to find the best solution without leaving the house. Make sure to check the size guides for each glove, as sizing can vary depending on manufacturer, fabric and fit.
Are arthritis gloves FSA/HSA-eligible or covered by Medicare or Medicaid?
Depending on your loved one’s Medicare coverage, gloves could be partially covered. For example, Medicare Part B may cover medical equipment like gloves or splints while a Special Needs Plan under Medicare Advantage may also provide coverage for gloves.
Medicaid coverage for arthritis gloves, however, is somewhat unclear. Check with your plan provider closely to see if gloves are covered in part or full.
The good news is that most Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts can be used for arthritis gloves—but only certain types qualify. Check out this extensive list of FSA/HSA-eligible gloves on Amazon.
It’s always best to check your senior’s plan for coverage details so you can tailor your search accordingly.
Our favorite arthritis gloves
These simple compression gloves are made of spandex and cotton for maximum comfort and softness and earned the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease of Use designation.
The IMAK gloves offer:
- Mild compression
- Open fingertips
- Breathable, light-weight spandex-cotton blend
- Available in grey and black
- Available in small or medium sizes
- 78% of reviews on Amazon are four stars and above
If this is the style your senior prefers, the options are almost limitless as this is the most common design type of arthritis gloves: almost 400 fingerless glove options on Amazon are $25 or less.
These unique compression and stability gloves use copper-infused fibers with anti-odor technology with moisture-wicking materials to keep your senior comfortable all day.
The Copper Compression gloves offer:
- Targeted compression and four-way stretch technology
- Open fingertips
- Inner, nonslip grips for consistent compression
- 30-day, money-back guarantee
Pro tip: New subscribers to Coppercompression.com will get 20% off a purchase by submitting their email address.
Newcomer to the market, FREETOO gloves are a blend of 85% copper and 15% spandex with double-stitch technology, making them more durable than most.
The FREETOO gloves offer:
- Targeted compression and double pressure on joints
- Open fingertips
- Ergonomic design that molds to your hand like a “second skin”
- Double-stitch technology for extra durability
- Longer finger sleeves for increased support
- Five sizes from small to extra-large
- Lifetime warranty
Because these gloves have only been on the market for a few months, they’ve only earned a little more than 500 reviews online, but 83% of those are four stars and above.
These gloves provide stability and support for the thumb and wrist via a soft, comfortable nylon and latex blend, gel pads and support braces.
The DCC-GETS gloves offer:
- Stability and support for thumb and wrist
- Lightweight latex and nylon
- Inner gel pads for the thumb
- Inner support braces for the thumb and wrist
- Two colors: black and tan
These gloves come in a two-pack but are only offered in one size, so pay close attention to the size chart. While there are less than 100 reviews on Amazon, 75% are four stars and above.
For those who don’t need full-time support – or those looking for additional self-care to ease arthritis symptoms – therapy mittens may be a good option.
The PhysioNatural gloves offer:
- Plush minky fabric for maximum comfort
- Flaxseed and clay beads to hold heat longer
- Channeled on the top and bottom to spread heat evenly across the hand and wrist
- 1.75-pounds per mitten to deliver deep heat
- Removable filling containers and machine-washable covers
- 100% money-back guarantee
A whopping 85% of reviewers gave these mittens four starts or above on Amazon.