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Tips on getting dressed-

Hi all

I'm new to this so really looking for some help on this matter as this morning as left me quite upset.

Does anyone have any practical advice on getting dressed as this morning I have been unable to put a bra on or do my trousers up until my husband returned from work.

As you can guess I have ra and was first diagnosed juSt under 2 years ago and after various treatments I have not had any reprieve from it but manage to do most things day to day even if its a struggle. I suffer in my right hand, elbow and shoulder mainly which causes me the most problems which is not controlled and never has been and today has been the icing on the cake.

Thanks in advance xx

21 Replies

Occupational therapy provide hook/ button and zip devices, I DIDNT get on with them. I PUT ON bra back to front do it up and then swivel it round buttons on trousers no no,, buy leggings or trousers with zip?, I BUT STEP into or over head dresses tops with no zips or buttons, I CANT DO UP ZIPS at back of things.

So put on bra back to front and then turn it round, if you arent too large breasted you could do bra less for one day?? im 38B,, but a lot of the measurement is arounf my back so I AM SMALL enough to go bra less occassional especialli in strappy sun dresses.

dresses are often easier in general than top and trousers x


Hi summer

Thanks for your reply, I saw my ot a few weeks ago and never mentioned such things, in my next nurse or consultant appt I'll ask for another referral. Unfortunately due to stiffness I can't seem to turn my bra either in a morning, no bra is not possible either as I have a biggish bust and would probably end up with black eyes. I will look in to dresses though any excuse to extend the wardrobe. Xx


I bought all front fastening bras harder to find when shopping but not impossible, and so much easier.

I've also altered all my wardrobe no zips, buttons, etc just leggings or elasticated trousers/ skirts, I do still have.a few things with buttons etc but only wear when I've got someone with me all day to help.

But defiantly see your occupational therapist I've been given a contraption to help with tights and socks

One to help with knickers and trousers etc as I can't bend down.

I do also avoid getting ready to early as during the first few hours off morning stiffness I'm not fit for much and end up hurting myself more :(


Hi ra fibro

Many thanks for your reply.

Are the front fastening bra from a specialist shop?

That's it once I finally got trousers done up yesterday I was reluctant to go anywhere in case I needed to unbutton or rebutton during the day.

Unfortunately I have to get up for work early as I have an hours drive to Get to work which is worrying me as I can normally manage a shower and get dressed and painkillers kick in after heat from shower and heat pads and a lot of cursing to enable me to drive but it seems to get worse by each day.

I think I may be ringing the helpline tomorrow as my next appt is until August and feel I may need referral before then back to the of.



Hi Fridayfever,

No there not from a specialist shops, I've had them from all kinds off shops from ann summers, Asda, M & S and online shops too, I've just googled it quick for you and found amazon offer a few as well as loads off other places, eBay, marrisota, simply be etc.

Here's the link:

If you have to get up and move early then don't get out off bed without doing plenty off stretches, no matter what time I get up I never get up without making sure I've stretched all my muscles, joints etc, nothing strenuous just basically making sure everything can move before putting loads off pressure on it.

I would recommend ringing the helpline don't suffer till August, after all that's what the helpline is there for.

Take care x

Julie x


Hi Julie

Thank you for this, really appreciated.

Been having a look at websites and there are some really nice bras, so glad they don't look like ones my gran wears and as much as I want to make my life easier I still want to look like a woman in her early thirties even ifomy body feels like that of an eighty year old.



I'm same mid 30's and didn't want granny bras, I've had some beautiful ones from ann summers and I normally wait till they have a sale, so prices are only about £10-£15 :)


Yes, I second the Occupational therapy advice - they are great for things like this, and will give you aids to help as well. Some of it is about getting the right kind of easy-fit clothing though. Front fastening bras can be good for some folk, or even those cami-tops that have a built in kind of bra support (though they don't work for me as I'm a bit too big there). Avoiding things with small buttons. Putting some kind of extra "pull" on zippers. OTs can also show you different techniques for getting your clothes on.

Is there an arthritis support group anywhere near you that you could go to? You can usually find out that kind of thing from CAB. Even a monthly meeting will put you in touch with other folk in your age group, and its amazing what advice and help you can get from each other. A face to face group could be great for clothing suggestions, as you can then see the clothing that people are wearing, and decide if that is something you could try.

For shoes, a long handled shoehorn is essential. you can get those from any shoe shop.

Ask your GP for an urgent referral to OT if you are having that much difficulty, and when you do get to see them, don't just ask about clothing - make sure they do a full assessment of other things you need help with too.


Hi earthwitch

Many thanks for your reply.

I've been given aids for opening jars etc and have bought some myself but I do seem to just get issued with splints which are good to protect but don't help with enabling me to do anything.

Most problems I've adapted to be able to get me through the day but wanted to be able to at least dress myself.

I wrapped my wrists and hands in heat pads this morning after having a shower but to no avail and dosed myself up on painkillers but two hours later still no improvement.

I'm just glad its Saturday and I had nowhere to be in a hurry or having to drive.

I see that there is a support group in my area every couple of months so may look into going.



I avoid zips and buttons whenever possible. Almost all of my trousers are elasticated waists and dresses are floaty and have no fastenings as such. My bra is a stretchy one - I am blessed with a small bust so I can sit down and put my feet into it and wriggle it up. I hate this. I used to love clothes but now wear them as a practical neccessity, not for pleasure. x


Hi tessintrouble

Many thanks for your reply.

I will go looking into the dress option and am glad (perhaps wrong word glad) to hear I'm not the only one experiencing these problems.

Its just so frustrating that everything some days seem such a battle and spoils things we used to enjoy. Xx


Hi , elastic acted, everything and vest tops with bra I fills. Also lots of OT help they have an amazing cheap thing for putting on socks. ,! It's so hard isn't it. I wake up early to take my painkillers and do stretching before dressing. But as your meds get into ur system it should get easier, hope u feel better very soon xx


Hi allanh

Many thanks for your reply.

Think I definitely need to reassess the wardrobe situation and think after such a bad weekend I need an earlier appt then august with consultant as drugs do not seem to be doing anything.

Currently taking hydroxychloroquine, sulphasalazine at their maximum doses and steroids, also had steroid injections into joints and by iv infusion which has reduced swelling but joints extremely painful and stiff for my ra Including usual painkillers codydramol and ibuprofen.

Splints are also worn daily and glove but to no avail.

See what tomorrow brings. Xx


Hi, Like Allanah, I have elastic waists in everything. My best bra solution, I developed before I had hand surgery years ago...I fastened all my bras, permanetly. Then I step into them and pull them up. I knew I was not going to fasten them with one hand in a soft cast and later a splint, so it worked so well, I have maintained that procedure. Also, since having rotator cuff problems in left shoulder, I have had to devise tricky ways to get things over my head! It's not a pretty sight, and alot of struggle, but I do it :)

Best idea is to let your pain meds work before trying to get dressed. Hope you are able to work it all out very soon. Loret xxx


Hi loret

Many thanks for your reply.

All ideas are going to be worth giving ago especially tomorrow morning if this continues as bad, I feel exhausted before getting to work some mornings with the struggles of getting dressed and washed etc. Tomorrow morning I am on my own so fingers crossed if only I could lol.

Think before hubby goes to work tomorrow I will either attempt bra and have meds.



Hi there.

I also have an hour commute and have to leave the house at 6.45 so I share the same problems. I found that taking anti inflammatory and paracetemol before bed seemed to ease my joints the next morning. They are still painful but not nearly as bad - I'm not sure if I sleep better as a result and perhaps not so stiffly and awkwardly? Mornings are when I have most of my meltdowns and just burst into tears over something really small like not being able to do a zip up. Generally I try to be positive but it has been hard over winter and the wet spring. I have bought some lovely slip on dresses (and they don't need ironing which is another bonus!) found them in TK Maxx. I struggle taking them off but hubby is home by then so I let him do the honours! :)



Thank you for your reply

I will try the drugs before bed as struggling to sleep also which doesn't help pain thresholds anything is worth ago at the moment.

Mornings seem to be a culmination of poor nights sleep, struggling to get washed, dressed and doing hair so I know exactly how you feel and it seems so daft to get upset over a zip but so frustrating which comes spilling out like you in tears.



I wear front fastening bras when I can wear them (skin problems) Have to get my husband (my carer) to do my shoes up for me.Pull on trousers instead of zips and buttons.Front fastening tops.x


Hi Rita56

Thanks for reply

I can recommend sketchers and heavenly feet shoes, I find those easy to get on and off and look really nice and are comfortable

Hopefully yours and the other lovely people suggestions has certainly given me a point to start xx


Hi Fridayfever

Just seen your post, I took get up early 4.15am, due to waking up with pain I am now in the habit of taking tablets around 4am, by the time I get out of bed the pain has eased. I do my stretches under the quit and am ready for the 3 s'? shower, s*** and shave, sorry, comes of being married to a builder.

I find sitting on the edge of the bed pretending to press pedals with my feet excersises my ankles and makes driving a little less painful.

Wishing you a less painful day xx


Hi slim-jacqui

Thanks for your reply.

I've tried the painkillers before bed but not much difference but I will try them early hours as suggested, anything is worth ago as spoke to rheumy nurse who can only offer me the third steroid infusion this week and will be going to gp for stronger painkillers before I next see consultant in August.

I will also try the pedaling exercises as that is something extra to add to the ones from the physio.

Many thanks xx


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