What Do Arthritis Gloves and Bracelets Do?

When dealing with a chronic, painful condition like psoriatic arthritis, many people turn to alternative and complementary therapies to get relief from their symptoms. Two common wearable approaches are arthritis gloves and bracelets.

Arthritis Gloves

Some people with arthritis use arthritis gloves, which provide compression and can help reduce the swelling caused by arthritis. Arthritis gloves are designed to help relieve aches, pains and stiffness associated with arthritis in the hands. The compression provides warmth and increases circulation, which reduces pain and inflammation. The gloves are easily worn and can be used during the day or night. Arthritis gloves are open-fingered, so the compression does not extend to the distal joints at the ends of the fingers. The distal joints are often affected in psoriatic arthritis.1

Magnetic Bracelets

It has been suggested that magnets can be helpful for pain relief, although there is little scientific evidence to support this claim. Magnets worn in bracelets are safe and may be worth experimenting with for the individual person.2

Proponents of magnet therapy say there are magnetic fields in the body, and magnets can promote increased blood flow, which reduces pain. However, research has yet to prove these ideas. There are limited clinical trials that have studied the use of magnets in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Some trials have shown a modest decrease in disease-related disability in osteoarthritis, such as pain and stiffness, while other trials have not demonstrated any benefit.2

Copper Bracelets

Many people with arthritis claim copper bracelets reduce their pain and stiffness, although there is no scientific evidence that proves copper bracelets offer a benefit. As an element, copper forms part of a number of enzymes, helps make blood protein, and is important in the repair of skin and blood vessels. Copper is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.2

They are safe, as the copper does not get absorbed into the body, and can be worn like normal jewelry. However, some people experience temporary rashes or discoloration of the skin. There are no studies that have evaluated copper bracelets in psoriatic arthritis, but one study that included people with osteoarthritis found no benefit in terms of pain reduction, stiffness, or physical function.2

Written by: Emily Downward | Last reviewed: October 2016.
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