Arthritis and Your Jewelry

Arthritis sucks. A lot. I don't just say that because I have it and today's rainy weather made it flare a bit. No, I say that because people tell me sadly that they can't clasp necklaces or bracelets. They hold up their swollen finger joints and tearfully relate how long it's been since they wore their wedding rings.

Over the years, products have slowly appeared to help work around these problems, but most of the folks that walk in my door don't know about them, so I am going to go over them with my next few posts. An estimated 21 million Americans suffer from Arthritis- that's a lot of fingers!- so we are going to start with rings.

When the knuckles become swollen, a ring that will fit over the joint will spin like a tire on your finger. Wedding rings are especially bad because they are top heavy.  You can size it as tight as you can stand for the knuckle and use Windex to help slide it over your finger, but it will still be loose once you get it on (not recommended). You can size it for the knuckle and have two metal balls soldered inside the shank to help it grip (not as uncomfortable as you would expect). Or you can have a specialty shank put on- one that opens over your knuckle and then closes.  The old version of this had some issues- namely it didn't take into account that arthritic swelling is not fixed. Some days your finger is smaller, some days the joint has a flare that makes it bigger than the circumference of the fixed opening on the shank. They finally came out with a truly adjustable shank, and I can't praise it enough. There are two pieces that slide over one another, giving you a wide range of sizes, instead of one fixed closed size. They are easier to put on and take off than the old version too- open it up to pass over the joint, then push the bars forward until the ring is comfortable.

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