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ethanknott

tendonitis/joint issues exp?

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So I've definitely developed tendonitis in the middle finger of my left hand. It's manageable but sucks. Recently (last couole days) it feels like it might be starting to develop in the thumb of my left hand. Wondering if anybody has experience dealing with persistent hand issues. I know this profession can be pretty hard on the hands, and I'm not gentle with myself at all. Any exercises or preventative measures I can take while still being able to forge and such?

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Are you a left handed hammerer?  For most of us, right hands get the worst of it.  Google it, but middle finger and thumb is usually carpal issues.  If it's your hammer hand, keep your thumb off of the hammer handle.  You often see people trying to get more control by sliding their thumb up onto the handle and that can cause issues with the tendons in the thumb.  Rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, surgery if it gets bad enough.

 

g

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Right hand is hammer hand, left is dumb hand. Best I can tell, the right hand is from gripping too hard, always hurts more after using the bigger hammers/bigger hits. The left seems to be from the hand filing/sanding. Using the thumbs to brace the file, probably forcing my left thumb into crappy positions. My right hand seems to be getting better, only flares up during the hammering, left hand just started.

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I agree with Geoff. Sounds like carpal tunnel. Also agree with advice of ice and anti-inflammtories like ibuprofen. I would also suggest two more things that aren’t mentioned, sleep in a brace to keep the hand straight. And look up exercises for rotating your wrist during the activity that is inflaming the hand. Do three sets of 20 rotations each direction about every 15 mins while you are working. It is the repetition that goes along with carpal, so that will probably help the most. If it doesn’t clear up, you talk to an orthopedic surgeon. There is a procedure to correct and provide smoother flow for the tendons

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Carpal tunnel is the first thing that came to my mind too.  What do you do for a day job?

Even if it isn't, as the others have said, give it time to heal.  It may take months, but don't push it.

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Nights at a gas station. Left hand might be carpel tunnel, feels much better today. Right hand is definitely tendonitis. The tendon for my middle finger at the first knuckle, right where palm becomes finger, is about 3x the size of yhe one on the left hand. It's getting much better, doesn't hurt as much or for as long, but it's still pretty sketchy. As best I can tell from my reaearch, its pretty much rest and hope, or surgery. Can't afford either lol

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Ice, and one of those blue rubber bands they put on broccoli and asparagus.  Put the tips of all your fingers and thumb together and slip the rubber band on.  Open and close your fingers against the tension for 15-20 repetitions, holding for a second at open and closed.  20 minutes of ice afterwards.

And rest the hands for a few months if possible!  

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14 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

And rest the hands for a few months if possible!  

I had to sit out a few months due to tennis elbow......prior months of pig-headedness didn't help.

 

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Having had carpal tunnel surgery on both hands and a new rt index finger first knuckle (ain't science wonderful?) due

to arthritis, I have several suggestions.  First, use a lighter hammer.  Using a too heavy hammer will tear up your joints

really fast.  Secondly,  look up Uri Hoffi's videos on hammer control.  He really isolates and protects his hands and wrist.

Make sure your anvil is high enough.  I set mine at knuckle height and tore up my right arm.  I was talking to Don Fogg

who suggested raising the anvil almost 4 inches.  Presto!  No more arm pain.  Knuckle height if correct if you use a 

lot of top tools.  Don suggested that I measure my arm movement until the hammer face is horizontal and then see how

much too low the anvil face is.  When I raised the anvil it was like night and day.  Seriously, no more pain in my arm at

all.  Hope this helps!

 

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I would add to Bill's excellent advice that I have found that the size of my hammer handles is vital to not injuring myself; I did mess up the tendon in my right middle finger a few years ago when I spent ten hours forging and then re-forging a spearhead with one of those Estwing fiberglass-handled 4lb hammers. The handle was too thin for my hands, and consequently I was gripping it awkwardly and too tightly. I learned better hammer technique and never used that hammer again, and my tendonitis has not come back; it will start to twinge a little bit if I'm tired and holding the hammer like a dope, like a little reminder to maintain good form.

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