The effects of compression gloves on hand symptoms and hand function in rheumatoid arthritis and hand osteoarthritis: a systematic review

Alison Hammond, Vivienne Jones, Yeliz Prior
  • Clinical Rehabilitation, March 2015, SAGE Publishing
  • DOI: 10.1177/0269215515578296

Do arthritis gloves work?

What is it about?

Arthritis gloves aim to reduce hand pain, swelling and help people with arthritis use their hands more easily. We reviewed the published evidence about their effects. The trials were small and all evaluated gloves worn at night only. Few trials were good quality. Gloves help reduce finger swelling. Results were conflicting for pain and stiffness. No effects on grip strength and dexterity were found.

Why is it important?

Arthritis gloves are increasingly provided by health professionals to people with arthritis to help relieve hand symptoms and improve function. There are many types of gloves available for people with arthritis to buy themselves. We found little evidence as yet that gloves do what they claim, apart from reducing finger joint swelling (by about 1mm on average). Good quality trials are needed.

Perspectives

Professor Alison Hammond (Author)
University of Salford

Lots of people with arthritis buy arthritis gloves and wear them in the day to help with their hands. There is no research as to whether they help when worn in the day - only research about night use. There are many different types of gloves available - made of different materials. We don't know if gloves work; or if they do, which are the best. One study even found similar benefits from arthritis gloves and ordinary thermal gloves. We need more research to help people make choices about glove use.

The following have contributed to this page: Professor Alison Hammond