How to Adapt Door Locks for Arthritis Sufferers

Arthritis is a debilitating affliction that affects millions of people. One of the common challenges for many arthritis sufferers is the pain that comes with opening doors. Many door locks are not designed for people who suffer from arthritis in their hands. Door locks can be adapted to deal with arthritis pain.

Knowing which options are the best for you depends upon your circumstances. Keeping in mind your condition and budget is helpful here. Options range from expensive to inexpensive, depending upon your specific needs and budget constraints. These adaptations can help those suffering with arthritis.

Door Lock Extenders for Arthritis

Door lock extenders are just that; extensions to the door lock. Many door locks in homes and businesses are round in shape, usually in a circle or sphere. These round shapes force you to put more pressure in your wrist to open the door. This causes great pain for those suffering arthritis in their hands.

Door lock extenders add a lever to a round door lock. This lever allows a person to open a door without using so much pressure in their wrists. It is a simple and effective tool to consider when dealing with arthritis in the hands:

  • The extender lever usually will extend to about five inches, though some models may vary in length
  • Many of these extenders also come with attached strings, giving even more aid to those with grip and mobility issues
  • These extenders are also made of rubber material, allowing for a better grip.

Rather than installing a brand new door lock with a lever, the extender is a cheaper alternative. They tend to work well for general arthritis needs. Just be aware that this item is meant for general use. If your arthritis pain requires specific needs for opening a door lock, it is best to look at more intricate options.

Door Lock Grips for Arthritis

Door lock grips are simpler and sometimes cheaper than door lock extenders. The grips attach to round door locks and add a firmer hold for one to open a door. This comes in handy for those suffering arthritis in the hands. 

Door lock grips are usually made of the following materials:

  • Plastic
  • Rubber
  • Silicone

These materials fit neatly over round door locks, allowing the hands to open the door without having to grip too hard. The designs of door lock grips also vary. Many will be simple coverings that fit neatly for simple turning. Others will possess more versatile designs. 

Some door lock grips are designed with two small levers that resemble the formation of a hurricane. These two small levers can easily open a door lock with just the push of a finger, rather than having to use your wrist. Many of these door lock grips are also designed to glow in the dark.

The one issue with some door lock grips is they might be difficult to install for those with arthritis in the hands. Some models require specific steps for installation, which can be taxing on the hands. Follow the directions as given, or ask for help from a friend or family member when installing a door lock grip.

Key Turners for Arthritis

This particular item is not an accessory for a door lock per-say. It is, however, a useful tool to keep for those with arthritis in the hands. Key turners are attachments to keys that give a better grip to the user in turning the key. These come in various styles, yet are usually designed with two flat ends to help turn the key without much effort.

Key turners are good to keep as an add-on item for your arthritis needs. Door lock accessories (such as extenders and grips) help for unlocked doors. Many with arthritis have issues turning keys when locking or unlocking. Turning keys puts pressure on the wrists, which is painful with arthritis in the hands.

Keeping a key turner handy will help those with arthritis in the hands to lock and unlock their doors without a painful ordeal. As mentioned, there are different styles to choose from. Each key turner does tend to follow a certain formula for function, so many designs may seem similar. Even in similar products, however, small differences can add up to more effective and ineffective products.

In general:

  • It is best to keep a key turner as an accessory if you suffer from arthritis in the hands
  • Small items such as this can make a world of difference in locking and unlocking rather tricky door locks

Pull Handle Locks for Arthritis

There are locks designed with pull handles for those with arthritis. Rather than turning a lever or knob, a simple handle will open the door and lock it with relative ease:

  • The designs of these are straightforward for the most part
  • Installation is also generally easy, though will require the use of tools such as a screwdriver. 

Some pull handle door locks will come with a simple push lever above the handle to open the door. Others will have a more speciality design. Certain pull handle door locks will incorporate the lever and lock in the handle. One simple pull will unlock the door and then automatically reset once the door closes. 

Pull handle door locks are common to see in:

  • Older homes
  • Places of business

These options can range in price, however. The more intricate the design, the pricier the product. The simple design does offer advantages over other door locks and accessories. 

Some may consider the pull handle door lock a “specialty” lock. These designs, however, are much more common than most specialty locks for arthritis. Most pull handle door locks are not customized for specific clients. They can be effective for dealing with arthritis pain, as long as you are aware of your needs.  

Specialty Door Locks for Arthritis

Specialty door locks are also a useful item to consider here. Some arthritis sufferers may have advanced cases where simple accessories (extenders and grips) may not work for them.

Specialty door locks are designed specifically to aid people with arthritis in the hands. These door locks are made exclusively with lever handles rather than round ones. Lever handles allow less use of the wrist in opening a door. These door locks generally will allow:

  • Less pressure on the wrist
  • Better gripping

Some of these specialty door locks will also utilize keypads to enter numbers. These are more common in places of business, though can be used at home also. Instead of turning a lock, one can simply punch in a set of numbers to allow the door to open. Even these door locks, however, are designed with lever handles. 

A potential client must consider the cost of this option. Installing a new door lock will be more expensive than installing an accessory to an already existing door lock. Some specialty door locks will also be more expensive than others. In general, it is good to understand what the costs will be and whether it will offer more or less advantages to simple accessories.

Storm Door Locks for Arthritis

Locks for storm doors have great benefits for those with arthritis in the hands. Storm door locks:

  • Have a vertical base
  • Are elongated to allow for quick and painless opening
  • Are designed for quick access during storms and also prove helpful for arthritis pain

Storm door locks come in various forms. They generally tend to be built for effortless opening for quick situations. This feature makes storm door locks great for those interested in installing a specialty lock for their arthritis.

Be aware that there are different models of storm door lock. Most tend to fulfil similar functions, though there are variances depending on model. The storm door lock may also require special equipment to install. It is best to consult with hardware sellers to ensure the lock’s specs are right for your condition.

Keypad Door Locks for Arthritis

There are door locks with keypads available on the market. For those with arthritis in the hands, punching a keypad to unlock a door will be less straining than using a key:

  • Many of these types of door locks are used in places of business
  • They can also be adapted for home use

These locks tend to follow specialized designs. They also operate electronically. Being that is the case, installing a keypad door lock will require special equipment and hookups in order to work properly. Some home doors may also not have the specs needed to install a keypad door lock. 

If you are interested in a keypad door lock, it is best to research the specs of the doors you want to install them in. Some homes can be old, which means the door designs may not fit a keypad door lock. You may not want to pay for new locks and doors at once, afterall.

Keypad door locks also come with different features. These features can help those suffering with arthritis even further.

Smart Locks for Arthritis

New models of keypad door locks now include wifi connections. These smart locks allow those with arthritis to open a lock without even touching a key or keypad. This allows you to control every lock in your home or business with the touch of your smartphone.

The wifi features on smart locks allow the lock to detect you as you are approaching the door. It will open for you without you touching anything, and lock automatically behind you. Smart locks also allow you to control who has access to the locks or not. In short, smart locks can offer:

  • Handless access to a door
  • Control of the locks remotely 

Smart locks effectively get rid of the need for a key. Much like more generic keypad door locks, however, there is a catch. Smart locks will require specialized equipment and door specs in order to be installed.  

Smart locks are among the best (and most expensive) items on the market for arthritis sufferers. Just keep in mind the technology, price tag and your specific wants and needs.    

Installing Door Locks and Accessories for Arthritis

Installation needs are crucial to know before purchasing a new door lock or accessories for your arthritis pain. Some accessories may require more intricate installation methods than others. New door locks will, of course, require very specific installation methods.

Knowing installation needs beforehand will help those with arthritis purchase the right product for their circumstances. When purchasing a door lock or accessories for arthritis, it is good to consider the following: 

  • Installation methods
  • Severity of Arthritis

These two factors are important to understand before making a purchase. Unless you have the budget to pay someone to install these items for you, it is likely you will have to install them yourself. Being aware of how severe your arthritis is will be a useful indicator as to what to install and how you can install it.

It is good to be informed of your items before making a purchase. The better you are informed, the happier you will be in the final outcome. 

Door lock Accessory Installation

As mentioned, various door locks and accessories for arthritis will require different installation methods. These methods also vary within the specific products themselves. When choosing a product that is right for you, it is best to know what your needs and limitations are.

Door lock accessories are the easiest to install. Door lock extenders and grips are generally meant to fit neatly over round door locks. Some of these accessories will require different methods of installation over others. 

Door lock extenders are usually easy to install, for most. Door lock extenders often require a screwdriver for installation. Screwdrivers require use of the wrist and fingers, which can take a toll on arthritis in the hands. Keep this in mind if considering a door lock extender.

Door lock grips can often be more challenging. Certain models require specific preparation before installing (such as soaking in hot water, for example). Two-levered door lock grips are often the most intricate to install. When installing a door lock grip, it may be best to ask friends or family to help assist in the installation process.

It is good to be prepared for these outcomes, rather than being stuck with an item that is painful to install.

Door lock Installation

Door locks are the most complicated items to install for arthritis. Door locks are like mini machines and they can only work best when installed in specific ways. There are various models of door locks useful for arthritis sufferers, some more intricate than others.

There are certain specifications for door locks. Not every door will be a good fit for every door lock. For front door use, as an example, consider the following before installing a new door lock:

  • Is the lever reversible (can it go left and right)?
  • Does it require special equipment to install?
  • Does your front door meet the specs of the door lock?

Some door lock levers may not turn left and right, which is useful for those who may be left handed or ambidextrous (uses both hands dominantly). If you desire a door lock with a keypad (to avoid using keys), it may require special equipment to install. The more complex a design, the more complex installation will be. Certain doors also may not fit the factory specs of certain door locks.

Taking these factors into consideration will make for a more informed purchase and smoother installation. If you suffer from arthritis in the hands, it is good to seek help when installing a new door lock. Door locks will require the use of tools, as mentioned. Some installations may be too taxing on the hands, therefore it is wise to seek help from personal or professional circles.

Arthritis and Installation

Arthritis pain will make any physical activity strenuous when working with your hands. One of the primary sources of discomfort here comes from twisting the wrist and bending the fingers. This, of course, makes simple hand use straining for arthritis sufferers. Depending on what you are installing can make all the difference in mitigating the aches of installation.

Accessories such as door lock extenders and grips are the easiest to install, though do come with challenges. Some accessories may require tools to install, while others may require specific steps that may also be taxing on the hands. Be aware of the specific installation needs of a door lock accessory before purchasing it.

Installing new door locks is much more complex, of course. You will have to be aware of the door locks specifications, as well as the specifications of your door. Some door locks (such as ones with keypads) will require more specialized work in order to properly install. Some doors may not fit the specs of the door lock you desire. 

As with accessories, researching the door lock in question and its specs will allow for a smoother installation process. The more one is aware of their needs and limitations, the more one can make an informed decision.

Content Disclaimer 

The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this Blog article are not intended to amount to advice, and you should not rely on any of the contents of this Blog article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this Blog article. OccupationaltherapyBlog disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this Blog article. 



I'm a Neurological Occupational Therapist and Founder of HT Neuro Rehab an Holistic & Person-Centred Adult Rehabilitation in London. I"m fully registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT). I have founded HT Neuro Rehab to provide clinical Occupational Therapy services to adults with neurological conditions, brain injuries, major trauma, upper limb retraining and rehabilitation, Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness (PDoC) and Functional Neurological Disorders (FND). My practice provides support, training, and guidance to both the patient and their families and caregivers. My goal is to enable each patient to achieve their personal ability, mobility, and independence goals while cultivating a long-term support network that is capable and prepared to engage in the rehabilitation journey.

Recent Posts