Research shows that some alternative treatments and health products and aids ease arthritis symptoms and improve health. But which are a worthwhile investment – and which are a waste of money? Here’s the scoop on 10 popular products.

UV disinfection light: Treat

Claim: These handheld devices use ultra-violet light, or UV light, to safely kill surface germs of bacteria and infectious diseases, including Escherichia coli, or E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus infection, aka staph infection, which can pose serious health risks, especially for those with compromised immune systems ­– either from autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, or those taking immunosuppressant drugs like prednisone.

Cost: Starting at $70,

Reality: “UV light does kill germs and bacteria without mutating them and proliferating the development of superbugs the way that many antibacterial products do,” says George E. Muñoz, MD, an integrative rheumatologist at the University of Arizona. “This is a good choice for disinfecting surfaces like keyboards and desks, and it’s light and ergonomic enough that someone with hand or wrist arthritis could safely use it.”

Shake Weight: Trick

Claim: These dumbbell-style weights vibrate and shake back and forth and provide “counter-resistance” to muscles, toning up arms more efficiently than regular dumbbells.

Cost: $20,

Reality: “While these may have a small benefit, they won’t take the place of a resistance workout with regular hand weights, resistance machines or bands, the latter being my ideal choice for individuals with advanced arthritis,” says Dr. Muñoz. “They could also inflame arthritic shoulders and elbows.”

Microwavable TheraBeads Arthritis Pads: Treat

Claim: Microwavable TheraBeads deliver “moist heat” without the use of water to ease arthritis-related soreness and stiffness.

Cost: $20,

Reality: “There’s nothing remarkable about this product in and of itself, but it’s affordable and safe, and heat remains an effective way to temporarily relief arthritis pain and stiffness,” says Dr. Muñoz.

Shape up shoes: It’s a Tie – some Trick and some Treat

Claim: Rounded soles tone the thighs and glutes, turning every walk into a workout.

Cost: Varies from $30 to more than $100, depending on the brand.

Reality: “Rounded soles have been used in orthotics for decades; they’re helpful for people with severe arthritis in the ankles or other ankle problems that restrict movement,” says Dr. Muñoz. “They may provide a little more of a workout to muscles, but they won’t take the place of regular exercise, and they may be problematic for individuals with knee problems.” Note: Wear these for an hour or two a day for a week to allow yourself time to get used to them, and wear them on non-consecutive days to avoid muscle strain, advises Dr. Muñoz.