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Arthritic Thumbs and Trips

Monday, November 18, 2013

Watermellen was talking today about multiple things, but one, in particular caught my attention. She mentioned that she's been using machines at her gym to do strength training because of her increasingly arthritic hands.

I don't think I've heard anyone else talk about the difficulty of doing workouts with arthritic hands. I've got arthritic thumbs that make gripping, or even holding without pressure difficult, but I also only have dumbbells, resistance bands and body weight exercises available to me.

My upper body strength training has been non-existent since summer since, as I go up in dumbbell weight, the circumference of the central shaft increases which, in turn, causes pain to the lower two joints of my thumbs. I need to do better, but I feel pretty inept about designing an appropriate workout that won't cause more problems than it helps.

Today I stubbed my toe going up the stairs and fell, scraping my left forearm and pounding the base of my right hand into the edge of another stair. I'm OK, but holding a pen to write is painful even with Advil in my system. I wonder how long this will take to feel better?

On the plus side... this year I kept my head off the stairs when I fell. Last year I broke my glasses, cut my face and moved subcutaneous tissue around as well as getting 2 black eyes. My husband wouldn't go much of anywhere with me because everyone who didn't know us gave him evil looks. (He picked me up! He DIDN'T push me! Lol.)

Do you have arthritis in the hands? If so, what strength training exercises do you do to minimize the pain?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I understand about arthritic hands sort of. For me it's my toes. Weird, but sometimes they just cramp up.
    When I was in shoulder rehab they often had me working with bands instead of dumbells for upper body work. Maybe a modification like that would work for you?
    1641 days ago
  • BOPPY_
    I was forced to change NSAIDs because of surgery. (Old one inhibited bone growth.)

    The new NSAID has done wonders for my left thumb. Seems to work less well, however, on my knees. Oh, well.

    If only I could find one that provides joint relief (pun intended).

    Sounds like you need a personal trainer, or a physical therapy consult to get your workouts tailored.


    1646 days ago
    Sorry about your fall . . that sounds excruciating!

    I'm able to use the upper body machines at the gym with a modified "grip", e.g. pushing down on the tricep machine with the heel of the hand, pulling up on the bicep machine with the heel also . . . it's putting the weight on that miserable thumb joint that cause the problems for me too.

    And: difficulty chopping veggies for salads and soups . . .

    Oh well, oh well. It's hereditary, my mother had it too. It's the total "hand failure" instances that cost me big time, e.g. dropping stuff and breaking it (like a heavy can on my glass topped stove . . . ouch!)

    I had physio after the left thumb joint surgery -- basically exercises involving stretching the "web" (maximizing distance between the thumb and first finger) and then crossing the thumb over to touch the smallest finger, and pressing down the first finger on the thumb tip, that kind of thing. Still do 'em. Don't know if it helps or not: maybe it would be worse without them!
    1646 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/20/2013 5:53:44 PM
  • KANOE10
    Have you tried getting physical therapy or acupuncture? I can't offer any solutions but I am sorry for your pain. I am trying to cure a lower back problem and understand you when you say, it is hard to know if the st is helping or hurting the problem. Hope you find a way to feel better.

    1647 days ago
    I don't have arthritis, but I have a little carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve stuff going on, especially when I work too many hours or crochet too much. I know that this is much difference than arthritis -- but I get relief with ibuprophen and rest.
    1647 days ago
    Oh, I feel for you on two counts: the sore hands AND the falling! I am also prone to falling and it is usually in front of people so not only do I hurt myself I embarrass myself as well.

    I have a stiff thumb on my right hand, maybe it's arthritis? But so far it is not bad enough to change up my workouts. Sorry I can't offer any solutions...
    1648 days ago
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