What is the Best Purse for Arthritis to Reduce Shoulder Pain?

Heavy purses just add to shoulder pain from arthritis. Look for purses that are lightweight and distribute weight across the body. The best purse for arthritis pain is usually a crossbody bag or lightweight purse with wide straps. Here are my top recommendations.

senior woman with arthritis pain from purse

There’s no denying that living with arthritis can certainly be a major challenge and yet for those of us suffering from rheumatoid arthritis this is a daily challenge that has to be met if we are going to continue living life. Unfortunately when living with arthritis this also means some things that used to be taken for granted are harder now. As if there wasn’t enough pain in our daily life!

The good news is that there has also been plenty of creativity from companies or individuals who understand the challenges that individuals with arthritis or other inflammation ailments that cause chronic pain have on a day to day basis. While there are very very few of us who look forward to the daily soreness, stiffness, or pain that comes with arthritis, it is good to know that there are purses, wallets, backpacks, and travel bags that are all designed with chronic pain sufferers in mind.

What to Look For In an Arthritis Friendly Purse

When you’re looking for a purse, for yourself or for a loved one with arthritis, there are certain things to keep in mind. One is weight. While it can seem like a great idea to have a large purse with plenty of storage space, more weight is more pressure on the joints, forces a harder grip, and can cause arthritis flare ups. Because of this it’s important to know what you need. Going with light purses is a great idea, but if you need more ability to carry things you should think of alternatives like crossbody bags, or even backpacks.

Sometimes the solution is with another piece of equipment. If you need a wheeled walker, for example, look for ones that have a basket built in. Then the purse can travel with you without putting any stress on your fingers, hands, or any joint in your arm affected by arthritis.

Reviews of the Best Purses for Arthritis

The Sash Crossbody Bags

The Sash Crossbody Bags

It’s no secret that the crossbody bag/purse design is a very popular solution to the issue of arthritis, chronic pain, and other related issues. These allow for easy carrying of multiple items, while reducing the stress on individual joints in the body. These are often some of the best options when it comes to finding a purse that is going to work for your needs and meet your challenges.

The Sash Crossbody bag is one of the best when it comes to a hands-off solution that meets all of your needs. The Sash crossbody bag is stylish, it is designed to be extremely functional, and it manages to minimize the weight and any stress on the joints while also remaining very stylish and pleasing to the eye. That is a rare combination of positive traits and yet all of them are together in this one very stylish and very useful purse.

There are plenty of easy to access pouches and large easy to use zippers. You don’t need a high level of finger dexterity to get the most out of this purse, which is a definite plus. Add in the fact that these purses are extremely stylish and look good, and you can see why they are the top of our list.


Baggallini Slim Crossbody Hobo Bag

Baggallini

Despite the perhaps less than flattering name, the hobo bag is a crossbody purse that actually looks quite flattering while featuring the beauty of simplicity. Simply but good-looking, the adjustable crossbody strap allows you to make adjustments for the perfect carry while a large zipper gives the ability to close the purse while also making it easy to open. While several credit card slots are available, the inside is lightweight and open to allow you plenty of carrying space.

The one downside is that these have enough space you could over-pack it, which even with crossbody bags is something you want to avoid but as long as you don’t hoard it up this is a great option as a purse that won’t flare up your arthritis issues.


Dakine Jordy Slim Crossbody Bag

Dakine Jordy Slim Crossbody Bag

For those of us who have difficulty keeping ourselves from carrying too much in the purse, the Dakine Jordy slim crossbody bag is a great option. There is plenty of space in this durable bag that is built to hold up to outdoor conditions. The crossbody bag makes it easier to keep weight off of joints that are most likely to flare up because of an ailment like arthritis, while the design gives enough space to carry what you need without allowing enough to get yourself into trouble with a higher bag.

Plenty of vertical space, and the compartments are well-designed to make things easy to grab a hold of. In other words, this is ideal to get around while keeping the chance of an arthritic flare up at bay, especially by helping keep those of us in line who tend to pack a little too much in our purse on a day to day basis.


Vera Bradley Lightweight Crossbody Purse

Vera Bradley Lightweight Crossbody Purse

This bag is more of a conventional small purse, which focuses heavily on style while also taking advantage of the crossbody strap setup to make sure there isn’t too much weight on the shoulders or the arms from carrying it conventionally. Vera Bardley creates a small purse, as it is only 6 inches tall and less than 9 inches wide, but it is also incredibly stylish and lightweight. This means less storage space than a large purse, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Especially when dealing with trying to avoid joint pain and arthritis flare ups.

This is a great small purse that keeps the weight low and yet everything easily accessible, making it a great small purse for individuals suffering from arthritis. It is also a brand that features a variety of colorful and eye-catching designs.


Estalon Leather Crossbody Purse for Women

Estalon Leather Crossbody Purse for Women

This classic large purse is a great option for people who love the look of leather, and this option is a great one. Featuring three large exterior side pockets in addition to the main interior compartment, this is a purse that offers plenty of space with a traditional great look.

This also features a crossbody design, while each zipper has a leather strap prettily knotted to make it incredibly easy to open each compartment, making everything more accessible even during major flare ups. As of this writing there are seven different color options which will satisfy a wide array of aesthetic choices. The only potential downside is that because of the sheer amount of storage space it can be easy to put in too much weight and have that sneak up on you.

Bonus: Finders Key for Purses

While you are looking at purses that are arthritis-friendly, sometimes a little something extra can make all the difference. One fantastic gift for an arthritis sufferer would be a Finders Key (amazon link). There are several different types, but these are attachments that keep your keys in the same spot in the purse in an easy to grab location near the top. For many people digging through a purse and pulling out the keys is like trying to win at the claw machine at an arcade. It’s possible, but it’s often a frustration that you can do without.

When gifts like that are combined with an excellent purse may seem like small things but when combined they create an outstanding gift combo.

How to Reduce Shoulder Pain from Carrying a Purse

Healthline offers the following tips on reducing your shoulder pain from carrying a bag:

  1. Lighten the load with a lighter purse or removing unneeded items.
  2. Support the load better with a backpack or purses with wide straps.
  3. Switch arms periodically.
  4. Perform shoulder exercises to strengthen your neck, back, and shoulders.
  5. Stretch, stretch, and then stretch some more.

Summary and Final Recommendations

There’s no reason arthritis should shut down functionality or style. There are plenty of great purses out there and this list will give you plenty of options to find the one right for you!

When looking for the best purse for arthritis think about weight distribution. Look for purses that have thick wide straps that spread the weight out across a larger area. That’s why cross body bags and back packs are common choices. Don’t forget to keep your purse light and not over pack it too!

Looking for more ideas to reduce arthritis pain? Check out my Coping With Arthritis guides.

What other ways have you used to reduce the pain from carrying a purse? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

About Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS® 305 Articles
Assistive Technology Professional, Custom Wheelchair Specialist, Medical Equipment Guru, Dad and Grandfather
I am a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not working as a custom wheelchair specialist at a regional home medical equipment company, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

1 Comment

  1. Helpful article, but arthritis does not only relate to gray hair! Autoimmune arthritis affects all ages. And there are actually stylish lightweight bags that won’t chip away at our souls. 😉

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