On World Arthritis Day (12 October 2006), Loughborough University’s Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute has released an osteoarthritis (OA) simulation suit. The suit is designed to illustrate and highlight the ways severe osteoarthritis effects its sufferers:
The full body suit and associated gloves mimic the characteristics of osteoarthritis, giving wearers an insight into the impaired mobility and pain experienced by people with the condition. It has been designed as an educational tool so that journalists, employers, and health professionals can feel for themselves the restrictive effect of osteoarthritis.
‘The suit is a great idea,’ said Arthritis Care’s Jane Spence, who has the condition. ‘It’s a struggle to explain how bad the pain and stiffness can get to friends, to family, and even to doctors. One go in this suit helps you understand what osteoarthritis means in a person’s daily life.’
The suit is designed to constrict movement and inflict topical pain with its ‘ouch pouches’ — sharp, nobbly, grating or hot packs which press into the wearer during a range of activities.