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Does RA Affect ‘Simple Tasks’ For You?

Does RA Affect ‘Simple Tasks’ For You?

September 2016 has been the first Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month, started by the American College of Rheumatology. The goal has been to raise awareness and increase public knowledge about RA, Gout, Lupus, and all other rheumatic conditions, through the Simple Tasks campaign. One way our community has participated in this initiative is through asking you, our community members, to find out how RA affects your ability to complete simple, everyday tasks. Your responses were so awesome, we wanted to share a few of them as we round out the month—even though every day should be dedicated to teaching those around you about RA and its impacts!

Simple Tasks That Are Now Battles

  • “Touch screens, gripping bank card when taking it out of cash machine, picking money off of the floor. Coughing and sneezing hurt too, cutting up food, tying laces and putting on socks”
  • “Using a can opener, knife, scissors, picking up a saucepan that’s full, using anything that vibrates, doing up buttons, squeezing tubes, opening medication, using keys, the list is endless”
  • “Do I have enough space to write everything? Putting my hair up, putting on a bra, tying my shoes, picking up things, opening objects, walking, stretching my arms…the list goes on and on”
  • “On a bad day, even holding a cup is difficult”

Maintaining Positivity in the Face of Challenges

  • “I’m dealing with these cards that I’m dealt with, and others may have it worse, so I count my blessings. It’s not easy, but I got to keep going!”
  • “How are murderers and evil people able to walk, run, and do things at ease, while I’m here who gives and loves so much and am dealing with this…But I can’t answer that so I just live everyday with a smile, well…I try at least”
  • “Yes, every day is a struggle, some days worse than others. But what gets me through a lot of days is my two beautiful young adult sons, and people that are terminally ill, like my own father, that just keep fighting!”
  • “I can’t think of anything that has not changed! The task now is to find a new way to do so many things”

Trying to Find the Humor in the Struggles

  • “I broke all our glassware in a 2-week period this summer. Brought me to tears. But my fiancé bought all plastic…a good chuckle!”
  • “It varies day to day. I’m just glad my 5-year-old can tie my shoes too! Lol!”
  • “Writing, cutting food, opening jars, opening anything wrapped in plastic, squeezing bottles, reaching, squatting, bending, walking…I’ll just say everything and be done with it!!”
  • “Holding a book…and I am a teacher!”

Do you feel like RA has affected your ability to carry out everyday tasks that once were simple? It’s clear to see that many of our community members feel this way, and are not alone in their daily battles. Even though our awareness month is coming to a close, we will not be ending the conversation about RA, and the way it affects those living with it. Let us know what simple tasks you wish people knew you were struggling with, or how you manage to stay positive in the face of frustration!


  • Daniel Malito moderator
    10 months ago

    Those freakin’ prescrption bottle tops you have to push down and turn are the bane of my existence. What genius thought, “oh hey you know what would be awesome for ortopedic patients? Tops they cant get off.” I have to use my legs to smoosh my hands together to get the tops off. You can request the no-safety tops, but it’s like you have to ask for it 50 times before they finally remember.

  • mcadwell
    10 months ago

    Getting a hug. Those seals under the lids of bottles are impossible, even with the pull tabs, without using a knife. Cutting food. Writing. Using a computer mouse. As another commenter said, the list is ENDLESS!

    I had been getting rid of all the plastic in my house, because of BPA. Then my hand started to not work right and I’d drop and break my glass things. I had to go back to plastic…this is NOT cheap.

    I have to constantly try to figure out how to do something that I used to take for granted…and it takes money to do it. Cutting food – I purchased a food chopper, an Ulu and a manual food processor. All my (new) cups have handles now and are BPA free plastic. I have to use plastic (eco-friendly BPA free) plates with sides because I spill too much food and broke too many plates. Put on doorknob covers so I can actually turn them. Etc. A never ending etc.


  • npanda
    2 years ago

    Geesh….where to begin….
    Picking anything up, grasping, holding anything at all. Tying, buttoning, opening, bottles, jars, plastic wrappings. Even those seals on coffee creamer, under the lid. I swear nothing is RA friendly…grrrrrrr.

    My lists can go on for miles and miles…..

  • karenkaye
    3 years ago

    Shaking hands hurts! Sometimes difficult to avoid it.

  • npanda
    2 years ago

    Omg, yes!!! Hand shaking is the worst. Especially when they squeeze your hand soooo tight. I want to cry so bad, but I try smiling through clenched teeth.

  • Eebtool
    3 years ago

    One good handshake with one on the guys can turn me into Barny P Fife from The Andy Griffith Show.

  • Richard Faust moderator
    3 years ago

    Thanks for writing karenkaye. RA certainly makes things that most take for granted into actual safety concerns. Thought you might be interested in this recent article from one of our contributors on joint protection:

    It focuses on making small changes to basic things/tasks to minimize the effect on the joints.

    If you haven’t already, you may want to check-out the Facebook page at Wishing you the best. Richard ( Team)

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