Is Your Green Thumb causing Sore Thumbs?
As gardening season arrives you may find yourself with sore, aching thumbs and wrists. All the digging, dirt turning, rock heaving, week pulling and raking puts a fair amount of stress on our overworked thumbs. Add to that extended time on your hands and knees and your wrists may start hurting too.
One of the most common joints where arthritis first creeps in (especially for women) is at the base of the thumbs – known as the basal thumb or CMC joint. This joint attaches the thumb to the wrist and gives our thumb the circular mobility that’s key to dexterity and various grasp patterns. But this little joint also works overtime! It’s involved in almost everything we do with our hands. Our WAGs gloves with support for arthritic hands can help with this pain!
A Little Support Goes a Long Way
Wearing WAGs thumb support gloves during gardening is smart for the following reasons, and especially if you have arthritis.
• The forces to the thumb are minimized to prevent pain and cartilage wear and tear.
• It restricts movement to rest the joint and decrease inflammation and pain
• It aligns and supports the joint and can prevent arthritis deformities
Thumb supports vary from a custom designed hard support to slim ready-made and soft supports. A custom thumb splint is made by a Certified Hand Therapist and is used to fully immobilize the thumb during painful flare-ups. Here we focus on 3 thumb supports that are ready made and easily purchased.
This thin, but supportive splint can relieve pain when the CMC (basal) thumb joint is under stress. The splint is designed to keep the basal joint stable yet allows the other 2 thumb joints and wrist to move freely. This gives you versatility and maximum functioning of the hand. It can also be used in the water, worn under your garden gloves, and is more supportive than neoprene but less restrictive then a custom splint.
Available at www.pushmetagrip.com in 3 sizes and ranging in price from $65 to $95
Comfort Cool Neoprene Thumb CMC Splint
Not as supportive, soft supports are recommended if you have thumb pain, but don’t have excess joint mobility or joint deformities. This brand fits well and can be used for mild compression, to keep the joints warm and support the CMC joint during light daily activity that’s non-resistive or non-manual labor. Gardening can definitely be resistive, manual labor depending upon what task you’re doing. This support of these neoprene thumb splints is a good choice for someone that has no to mild thumb pain and is looking to proactively protect their thumbs.
Available at North Coast Medical in a variety of sizes at a cost of ~$30
Drugstore Soft Supports with Removable Stays
The least expensive option that can provide mild to firm support, however, fit is important. These styles generally do not fit as well or are as comfortable and supportive. But some people prefer to have an inexpensive support that can be dirtied and beat up during gardening and yardwork. For firmer support make sure it has the metal or plastic stays. Common brands are Futur and Mueller and are available at most drug stores for $20 or less.
Select the right garden tools
Tools that have padded and curved handles are easier on the hand joints and can reduced excess pressure and strain. Use a tool that fits your hand well when possible. If you have weak grip strength, use pruners and clippers that have ratcheting or spring-action self-opening features.
Wrist pain bother you more then your thumbs?
If your gardening time is spent primarily on your hands and knees or pushing on long handled pruners (loppers), you may want to consider adding some gel padding to the wrist and thumb area of your garden gloves to minimize the pressure and stress to these joints. A yoga wedge can be a good option for hands and knees gardening. Wrist Assured Gloves, with the built in wedged gel pad is another solution to ease your wrist strain and pain and protect your thumbs. WAGs provides quality thumb supports for arthritis, tendonitis and other hand pain. Check out our workout gloves with wrist support to relieve your pain now! Happy Gardening!