Phalang-EASE Mittens

The First "Handi-Capable" Mitten™

Rheumatoid Arthritis–Friendly Mitten Maker

Michael Loffredo


Marita Loffredo founded a business that sells mittens to keep arthritic hands warm.

Phalang-Ease Mittens (pronounced like the word "phalanges," meaning hand bones) are designed with flaps that make them easy to put on and comfortable. “When your hands are swollen or achy, you don’t want something binding that’s hard to get off,” she says. You lay your hand in the mitten, and you don’t have to pull anything or fit your fingers in place.

Rheumatoid Arthritis–Friendly Mitten

Rheumatoid Arthritis–Friendly Mitten

One Woman’s Invention Makes Winter Bearable for People with RA

Michael Loffredo

By Casey Nilsson, HEALTH CENTRAL

Marita Loffredo, the woman behind the “handi-capable” mitten brand Phalang-Ease, keeps a pair of mittens with her at all times, even in the summer. Supermarkets are freezing cold, after all.

The 52-year-old mother of two, who lives in Rhode Island, has a constellation of autoimmune diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and Reynaud’s are compounded by pulmonary fibrosis and hypertension. She wears a nasal cannula 24 hours a day. She’s the full spectrum of things that could go wrong when you have rheumatoid arthritis, she says with a laugh. Loffredo laughs a lot, and heartily.

She’s been sick a long time — since high school, when she was diagnosed with juvenile polymyositis — but she doesn’t let her chronic, life-threatening diseases dampen her sunny disposition.

New England winters, on the other hand, were a problem. For a decade, she struggled to find a pair of gloves that fit her hands, which have RA-related deformities. So Loffredo, who says she has “enough sewing ability and plenty of arthritis” got to work on a pair of mittens that would make the cold and snow more bearable.

Over the last three years, Loffredo took steps to bring her homemade designs to the public. She partnered with a manufacturer in New Hampshire to develop her Phalang-Ease brand warm winter mittens made from soft, water- and wind-resistant material with large flaps at the wrist. I caught up with Loffredo on the phone to get the scoop on her one-of-a-kind designs.


Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Self-proclaimed 'dying woman' becomes mother of invention for necessary comfort

Michael Loffredo

By: Walt Buteau CHANNEL 12 NEWS

She admits it was quite the learning experience, dealing with everything from getting a trademark to finding a manufacturer. But while frustration, she saw the glass as half full.

So, we suggested a new invention for her; Bottling up her positive attitude and selling that.

"That would be awesome," she said with a laugh. "I'll have to work on that one."


The Handi-Capable Mittens 

The Handi-Capable Mittens

Mark Patinkin: A humble request from a woman with little time left

Michael LoffredoComment

By Mark Patinkin,  Journal Columnist,  RI NBC NEWS

Whittenhall added that she’s inspired seeing how positive Marita is after a lifetime as a chronic rheumatoid patient.

“I’m not afraid,” Marita told me. “I have a strong faith — that’s what gets me through.”

So all she wanted from me was an article on her mittens?

She nodded. Yes — it would make her truly happy if I could do that for her.

I told her I could.  And would.