Options for nail clippers for arthritic hands
November 6, 2019 8:06 PM   Subscribe

My mom has bad enough arthritis in one of her hands that she seriously struggles with trimming her other hand. Are there any options that might work better for her?

She has very little control over her thumb's movement, and there is numbness down to her wrist. She's tried ones with longer handles, but they don't work - she has too little strength and her joints are "jumpy" (in her words). She's quite young for this to be happening (early 60s) and frustrated to all hell. Does anyone know of some different options or approaches that might be easier for her, aside from having someone cut her nails every week?
posted by Paper rabies to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If she still has feeling in her other fingers a tabletop clipper may help. For a higher price point there’s this automatic cutter.
posted by Pretty Good Talker at 8:18 PM on November 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Would a nail file block work? (Here's an example) She could hold it firm in the palm of her bad hand then rub the other one against it. She might need to do it more often but I think it might work pretty well. I might help if someone else could trim her nails to the shape and length she likes the first time so she just has to maintain it on her own.
posted by metahawk at 8:19 PM on November 6, 2019

I have nailcutters like this: https://www.myfootshop.com/nail-cutter-large. (I got mine in a local pharmacy, but this seems a good photo)
The advantage over the "end-clipper" kind is that there's no real thumb action needed - all four fingers press one handle while the palm holds the other handle.
posted by anadem at 8:25 PM on November 6, 2019

I would try a file. With filing, the key is to go only one direction, not back and forth which chews up the end of the nail and can cause splitting. There are definitely a variety of auto cutters/files online. A call to a podiatrist or anyone else who professionally, medically manages nails - often in elderly patients - may also have suggestions of tools.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:47 PM on November 6, 2019

Would she be interested in an electric nail file? I know there are versions for dogs nails for those that are clipping resistant...so I think they have files that are rough enough to take the place of clippers.
posted by victoriab at 5:05 AM on November 7, 2019

My dad had neuropathy in his hands and feet and also found it hard to trim his nails. He ended up liking this table top trimmer
posted by whitetigereyes at 8:44 AM on November 7, 2019

These are awesome. Thanks so much! I think the tabletop-style will work best for her - that one with the suction cups recommended by whitetigereyes is so clever and simple. Filing is a good idea but I know that she doesn't like the sensation (neither do I, tbh), but good to keep in mind if she can't cut with as much precision as before.
posted by Paper rabies at 11:23 AM on November 7, 2019

Depending on her finances - getting someone to do it for her?

Manicures - given the right manicurist - is like a social event/ therapy for some people.
posted by porpoise at 8:43 PM on November 7, 2019

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