The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

I have ECU tendonitis in both wrists. I am in pain. Sometimes the level of pain is such that I would be perfectly willing to hack off my own arms at the elbows if I had the wrist strength to do so, but I don’t. And so far, no one I love has volunteered to do it for me. Which makes me question their love, if I’m honest. If you were in this amount of agony, I’d be perfectly willing to hack off your arms for you. With the proper legal releases from liability, of course. But you’d owe me.

My wrists have always been the weakest part of my body, for some reason. In fact, I had De Quervain’s Tendonitis in 2015 and eventually had to have surgery for it, and I wrote about the situation here and here. I wish my current condition were so curable, but unfortunately the currently offending tendon is on the other side of the wrist, which means, basically, that if I had surgery for it, my tendon would pop out of place at unexpected moments for the rest of my life. Eww.

This time the tendonitis isn’t due to my clumsiness, it’s due to my stupidity. I was doing pull ups when I heard a pop in my right wrist. I ignored it. I powered through. I continued typing this blog. I tried to give my right hand a break by doing more with my left. That was a bad idea. Now I have tendonitis in both wrists. Oh, joy.

Eventually the pain became my whole world yet again, so I made an appointment with Dr. Joneschild, the amazing hand specialist I saw the first time around. She’s the one who told me surgery wasn’t an option this time. She gave me braces. She has me taking Aleve, as it’s an anti-inflammatory. She has me using Diclofenac Gel, which is usually meant for arthritis. Also, I’m using ice packs and heat. I see her again in a few weeks, but I can tell you right now that it’s not getting better. It’s getting worse. The next step is probably cortisone shots. That didn’t help last time, but we’ll see.

Meanwhile, I’m wearing these braces on both hands. This is my life. To say they’re restrictive is putting it mildly. I feel like Edward Scissorhands without the scissors. I can’t even use scissors. I also can’t chop vegetables, sew, or pick up my dog. I can’t shower with them on, and, while I can take them off, if I do, it hurts like the dickens. I can’t brush my hair. I can’t push myself up from a sitting position, and if I need to roll over in bed, I look like a turtle with its limbs pointing skyward. I can’t write anything legibly, and if I have to hold a utensil, I do so like a three year old child. I struggle to wipe my own behind. To add insult to injury, these braces also make my hands sweaty.

So, if, like me, you have to wear wrist braces, here are some tips for you:

  • Cut the toe off some thin cotton socks and slip that onto your hand. Cut another hole for your thumb, to help keep the sock from sliding. Wear this under your brace, so when you get stinky/sweaty, you can just slip off this sheath and hand wash it.
  • Also, if parts of your brace are chafing your skin or causing blisters, get some adhesive moleskin and put it on those parts of the brace. You’ll have to replace it about once a week because it will get dirty and sweaty otherwise.
  • Speaking of dirty, if you have a choice of brace color, go for black. It hides the dirt better, and also makes you look like a hardcore bad ass. (I take my silver linings wherever I can find them.)  
  • If your brace has palm padding for comfort, as mine does, you’ll probably find, like I do, that it’s still uncomfortable. So I cut up a sponge and slide that into the palm area for even more padding.
  • Wear your brace as tight as you can stand it. At first that may seem like a bad idea, but it will give you more support, and reduce chafing.

I hope this information helps someone, because at the moment I feel utterly incapable of helping myself. I even had to use a dictation feature to write this blog post. I’m in so much pain that I’m not thinking straight. I’m miserable. So send me some healing energy, please, before I lose my mind.

Edward Scissorhands and Kim

Now is the perfect time to stay at home and read a good book. Try mine! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

6 thoughts on “Wrist Braces for Dummies

  1. Angiportus Librarysaver says:

    Uff da. I just got one myself, for a lesser problem. Hope improvement occurs soon.
    If our medical experts weren’t so busy dealing with the pandemic…and IF they earlier hadn’t been so busy growing hair on cueballs, inflating starlets, shilling for drug companies, and nagging us about our weight, we’d have made some progress on this and other issues. Just sayin’.

    1. Good points, all. And thanks for the good wishes. May the brace be with you.

  2. Lyn says:

    A 3 minute vacation/distraction from the pain…

    Tried a wide range of musical, meditative and frequency related YouTube videos for multiple chronic pain issues. Both weak ankles and wrists, throw in fibromyalgia, restless legs and arms, compression fractures, sciatica and I’ve tried every noninvasive treatment there is. Have several drawers full of braces, ace bandages,compression gloves, hot /cold gel packs, topicals and various assistive devices that are all attempts to remain independent. Then there’s the O.T., P.T. and talk therapists that offer limited support. What I’ve learned is that pain management differs greatly between individuals and even within an individuals own flare ups. What works is constantly changing so you have to remain flexibly prepared. Easier said than done. It’s frustrating and so exhausting that sometimes you need a fellow sufferer to vent and cry with. Holding the emotional pain in makes the physical pain worse, so feel free to call, day or night. (Up late most night’s when pain’s harder to ignore.) Regardless of how you deal with this, don’t do it alone or you risk a depressive flare.

    1. Thanks. Good advice and much appreciated support. Don’t freak out when you read this Sunday’s blog post, “Excruciating Pain”. I wrote that a couple weeks ago, actually, and while I still hurt, it’s not nearly as bad as that post makes it out to be. Not now, anyway. 🙂

  3. Lyn says:

    Sorry about the failed link. Here’s a 10hour vacation… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujyu7tkyxtw Hope this one works.

    1. That is very relaxing, thanks. I better stop listening or I might fall asleep, and I’m currently at work. 🙂

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