Arthritis is among the most common health conditions experienced by people, especially among older adults. It is the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints that lead to joint pain and stiffness. It can affect any joint in the body, but among the elderly, it is common in the hands. There are four areas of the hand that can be affected by arthritis, which are the base of the thumb, the knuckles, the middle joints of the fingers, and the top joint of the fingers nearest to the nails. As the condition progresses, it can be more and more challenging to use your hands in managing everyday tasks.
Having arthritis is among the top reasons seniors find it difficult to do even simple tasks like opening jars. On a good day, you could simply open a jar without any help. However, during a bad arthritis flare, the five-second task of opening a jar may become an excruciatingly painful chore. Opening a jar when you have arthritis can be painful as it involves a lot of joints, and it takes coordination between your hands, wrists, fingers, elbows, and shoulders. The pain or stiffness caused by arthritis can make it feel unbearable to open a jar or bottle.
Since bad days with arthritis can be difficult to predict, it is best to set up your environment in advance of a flare. One of the ways to do this is by learning how to open jars and bottles without causing more pain. There are different ways to do this, and fortunately, there are also various tools that can help. If you are curious about these, read on as we’re giving you more information on how to open jars easily when you have arthritis.
Practicing Correct Form When Opening Jars
For people with arthritis, opening jelly jars or even nail polish caps can be annoying, painful, and damaging to the joints. When you put too much stress on your joints, it will lead to swelling. Also, the pain triggered by opening everyday objects may not appear until hours later or even the next day. With this, it is important to keep your joints functioning well in the long term and practice using your available range of motion by light stretching.
It is also important to practice correct form when opening jars to avoid causing pain and further damage to your joints. Below are some of the different ways how you can practice correct form when opening jars:
Hold the Jar Close to Your Body
When you are opening a jar, make sure that you are holding it as close to your body as possible. It’s because having a firm stance will help prevent slips or drops. In addition to that, it will also enable you to use more of your bigger muscles to help remove the lid instead of just putting all the force on your hands and wrists.
Try Different Holds
There are some people who like using a one-hand technique when opening jars. To do this, hold the jar close to your torso while securing it with the crease of your elbow and loosen the lid using your stronger hand. Using your entire arm to brace the jar provides you more strength and removes the pressure off your hands and fingers.
Use a Non-Slip Surface
The surface underneath the jar is as important as what you are using on top of it to open it. When you place a non-slip surface under the jar when opening it, it will help stabilize the jar and increase comfort and safety. Some of the non-slip surfaces that you can use include rubber dish drying mats, silicone baking mats, and other textured surfaces that you can find at home.
Opening Jars Using Readily Available Items at Home
If you are struggling with opening jars and bottles, there are strategies or techniques that you may try in order to do it successfully without pain. These techniques may also include the use of items that you may already have at home. To learn more about these, below are some of the things at home that you may use to open jars easily if you have arthritis:
Anything that has a rubbery surface can be used to open jars, but rubber bands are a versatile choice. You can wrap them around jar lids, tiny caps, or anything that is hard to open. Doing so adds a bit of resistance. Aside from jars, you can also wrap rubber bands around door knobs as they provide extra grip when you twist to open and close doors.
A spoon doubles as a lever in order to remove the suction that the metal lid has on a jar. Place the spoon carefully under the rim of the lid and press it upward until you hear a pop. After that, you will be able to twist the lid off easily.
Like using rubber bands, you can also use rubber gloves when opening jars. Slip on a pair of kitchen gloves when opening a jar or other container as it increases your grip. Also, when turning lids, do it clockwise with your left hand and counterclockwise with your right hand. This way, you will not be putting your wrist and fingers in a position of deformity with a lot of force.
When the jar or bottle is slippery, you can use a wet washcloth to strengthen your grip and open it easier. You can also try running the jar under hot water to expand and loosen the metal lid, making it easier to open without putting a lot of force on your hands.
Best Jar Openers for People with Arthritis
Since there are a lot of people with arthritis who are finding it difficult or painful to open jars, many jar openers and other helpful products have been introduced that may help complete the task easier, faster, and without feeling any pain. To further help you, below are some of the different jar openers that people with arthritis may find useful:
Non-Slip/Rubber Grippers and Mats
Grippers and mats that are non-slip and made of rubber are among the best tools that people with arthritis can use to open jars easily. One popular brand is Dycem, which offers flexible and grippy material. It is a staple used by occupational therapists in treating patients who have arthritis. These grippers may help improve your grip, prevent slips, and ease the pain. Below are a few examples of non-slip or rubber grippers to help you choose:
Dycem Non-Slip Cone Jar Opener: This non-slip rubber gripper is dome-shaped to fit comfortably into the palm of the hand. It can fit all lid sizes and ensures a good seal when closing. It is ideal for people who have a weak grip, decreased sensation in their hands, and upper extremity weakness. It can be used to open jars, medicine bottles, door knobs, faucets, and cabinet handles.
Dycem Non-Slip Mat: This is a 4mm anti-slip mat or pad that can provide a secure surface. It anchors items like jars to provide stability as you open their lids. It is latex-free and made with a material that is reusable and easy to clean.
Contoured Jar Openers
Using a jar opener can help remove the strain on your hands and joints. There are jar openers that work by using “teeth” to hold onto the lid. They feature large handles that make it easier to twist the lid off of the jar. It is better if you can find jar openers that are contoured as they are adjustable and come with a grippy base that helps stabilize the jar. Below are a few examples of contoured jar openers to help you pick:
OXO Good Grips Jar Opener: This jar opener features a base pad that keeps the jar in place. It reduces the force needed to open the jar. It has a sharp, stainless steel tooth grip jar. To use it, place the jar under the opener, slide it over the lid, and twist it counter-clockwise to loosen. This contoured jar opener has a non-slip grip for better leverage. It is also dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
Jar Opener for Weak Hands: This jar opener is specially designed for people who have weak hands. It has a long handle that provides the lever force needed to easily open a jar. The grips are also rubberized, making them perfect for seniors, people who have arthritis, and others with low strength.
Jar Openers with Pop-Up Handle
It may also help if the jar opener you are using has something a bit bigger to hold on to. With this, the use of a jar opener with a pop-up handle can be a great idea for people with arthritis. These jar openers can attach to almost any size of the lid. They allow you to turn the handle instead of gripping the lid with your aching hand. There are also some jar openers that have folding or retractable handles for easy storage. Below are some examples of jar openers with pop-up handles to help you choose:
Adjustable Jar Opener for Arthritis Hands: This jar opener is made of stainless steel, and it features a solid wood handle that will last. The size of this tool is suitable for jars, cans, and bottles with lids between 1 inch to 4 inches in diameter. The stainless steel teeth on the clamp grab the edge of the jar lid tightly, making it easy to open a jar with just one twist. It is a compact tool that is easy to bring anywhere and store in the kitchen.
OXO Good Grips Twisting Jar Opener: This jar opener with a pop-up handle can help you with opening jars with minimal effort. It helps reduce hand strain as it is large and easy to grip, making it perfect for arthritic hands. It also comes with a base pad that creates a non-slip surface for a better grip. The opener features sharp teeth grip for easy opening. It can also adjust to all-sized lids, such as bottles of vanilla to jars of pickles.
Mounted Jar Openers
If you are looking for a fast and easy solution when it comes to opening jars, you can then install a mounted jar opener. These jar openers are fixed in one place and will not get lost in your kitchen drawers. They are commonly installed under a cabinet. In using them, only one hand is needed as the opener will grip the lid for you. Below are examples of mounted jar openers to help you choose:
Under-Cabinet Jar Lid Opener: This jar opener is made of stainless steel. It has hardened and wear-resistant teeth that are durable for opening lids. It can easily grab and open tough lids effortlessly. It works on different types of jars and bottles. It comes with 3 peel-and-stick adhesives and 3 stainless steel screws. It is easy to use and install, and jars can be opened using it with just one hand.
EZ Off Jar Opener for Weak Hands: This jar opener can remove tight lids effortlessly, making it great for seniors and people suffering from arthritis. It can open different sizes of bottles, jars, and tubs. It is mounted under the cabinet, cupboard, counter, or shelf for easy access. This jar opener is sturdy and non-slip, making it easy and safe to use.
The Grip Original Under Cabinet Jar Opener: This jar opener can be mounted securely under cabinets and cupboards. It can open any jar lid or bottle cap easily without much force needed. It is a lifesaver for people with arthritis and weak hands, as its V-shape method grips the lid using its sharp dual carbon steel teeth, which allows the opener to do the work instead of your hands and wrists.
Electric Jar Openers
If you can’t stand the pain that you feel whenever you are opening jars, one of the best solutions is to use an electric jar opener. This tool can save pressure on your joints and allow you to open jars or other containers easier and safer compared to using your hands. There are one-touch automatic jar openers available in the market that are very easy to use and will surely not put any strain on your arthritic hands. There are also fully automated ones that you don’t need to hold in order to work. Below are a few examples of electric jar openers to help you pick:
Healthy Seniors Electric Jar Opener for Seniors with Arthritis: This electric jar opener is made especially for seniors who have weak hands or those suffering from arthritis. It will help you open any type and size of jar without putting stress on your joints. This automatic jar opener requires only one touch for it to work. It is powered by 2 AA batteries. It is small and lightweight, and it can fit in your kitchen drawers well.
Black & Decker JW200 Lids Off Jar Opener: This is an electric jar opener that easily releases vacuum-sealed lids. It is simple to operate, has an adjustable height, and has a large release button. It is ideal for anyone who needs a stronger grip for opening jars and bottles. It can fit jars up to 4.5 inches in diameter and 8 inches in height. This jar opener is collapsible for easy storage, and it also comes with a built-in power cord case.
Opening jars is indeed a tough task for people who are suffering from arthritic hands. While it may seem simple to do, the pain is sometimes unbearable. Luckily, there are many different techniques and tools that can be used by people with arthritis to effectively open jars easily without feeling any pain or causing more strain to the affected joints. Using a reliable jar opener is indeed among the best ways to do this. We hope this post helped you learn more about how to open jars easily when you have arthritis.
 Cleveland Clinic, E. (2021, July 6). Arthritis of the hand: Symptoms, types & treatments. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/7082-arthritis-of-the-wrist-and-hand
 Andersen, C. H. (2020, March 18). Opening jars with arthritis: 21 tips from occupational therapists to make it easier. CreakyJoints. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://creakyjoints.org/living-with-arthritis/how-to-open-jars-with-arthritis/
 Kloss, K. (2020, May 28). 10 random household items you can use for hard-to-open things with arthritis. CreakyJoints. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://creakyjoints.org/living-with-arthritis/how-to-open-difficult-household-items-with-arthritis/