University of Missouri Extension agricultural systems management specialist Willard Downs and Missouri AgrAbility Project director Karen Funkenbusch offer the following tips for farmers and ranchers with arthritis:

  • Modify tools and equipment. Use wheels to reduce friction and avoid lifting and carrying. Work with extended handles so you use less force and energy to move objects. Use lightweight objects to reduce joint stress, pain and fatigue.
  • Learn body mechanics to use your body more efficiently. Spread the weight of objects you are carrying, pushing or pulling. Don’t tightly grasp objects. Hold objects close to your body to reduce the load. Use your whole body—not just your arms—and use your legs instead of your back.
  • Avoid the same position for prolonged periods. Alternate between sitting and standing. Stretch frequently. When sitting, change the position of your legs so that your knees are periodically stretched.
  • Use good posture. Stand so that ears are directly over shoulders, shoulders line up with hips, stomach muscles contract lightly and knees stay straight but unlocked. Place feet shoulder-width apart and evenly distribute weight on feet.

For more information from the Missouri AgrAbility Project that can help ranchers and farmers prevent and cope with arthritis, go to