Author Topic: Painful Penman's Thumb  (Read 431 times)

Offline Daniel Mastrofski

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Painful Penman's Thumb
« on: June 06, 2017, 12:37:54 PM »
still within my first two years of calligraphy and need some advice about
sore joints in my right thumb (i am a right hander).
More specifically since I took up copperplate & spencerian about a year ago,
 a whole new ache appeared.  both joints in my thumb have become super
sensitive and the slightest bump or twist will give me reason to put it on ice.
I use a Triflora gel that is used to reduce swelling in arthritis.

Just wanted to hear anyone else who can share stories & remedies for these
pains.  It's not so much when I am in the act of calligraphy that it hurts but
afterwards.  If i lay off the scribing for a day or two generally the pain goes
away, until i jam my thumb or it gets twisted in a funny way.

my instinct tells me i have arthritis.  i am age 39 and all this is a bit new to
me.   any thoughts???

thanks!
Instagram : @danielmastrofski

Offline Rednaxela

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Re: Painful Penman's Thumb
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2017, 12:51:55 PM »
How is your gripping technique?
-- Alexander --

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Painful Penman's Thumb
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2017, 04:41:20 PM »
It could definitely be arthritis. But as Alexander inquired, it could be the way you are holding your pen (or the amount of pressure you are using). Perhaps a type of golfer's or tennis elbow.

In any event, don't know if you are keen to try it, but I have found a homeopathic remedy called Ruta Grav, 30c to be a tremendous help in treating such pains (whether from arthritis or overuse or ...). You can purchase it in most health food stores and on Amazon.

Just thought I would mention it.  :)
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline Daniel Mastrofski

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Re: Painful Penman's Thumb
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2017, 05:39:38 PM »
@Erica McPhee @Rednaxela

Here's generally as i grip.
i'm a double-jointed as you can see.
My index finger never bothers....
just the thumb.....

I started taking "move free" supplement. a friend had suggested it....
will see....
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Offline Rednaxela

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Re: Painful Penman's Thumb
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2017, 06:02:14 PM »
Thanks for the picture Daniel.

No idea if it helps, but maybe look into muscular movement writing and the accompanying grip. The idea is that with MMW your finger joints are hardly operated and the pen is lightly supported (for instance by the thumb) rather than gripped.

I personally made the switch and I am convinced that it is much friendlier on your writing hand and fingers.
-- Alexander --

Offline Daniel Mastrofski

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Re: Painful Penman's Thumb
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2017, 06:14:54 PM »
@Rednaxela

Can you share a photo of the grip you describe?
Would love to give it a shot!
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Offline Rednaxela

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Re: Painful Penman's Thumb
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2017, 12:16:10 AM »
Daniel, check out this video:

https://instagram.com/p/BFiSSKKKv0V/
-- Alexander --

Offline Rednaxela

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Re: Painful Penman's Thumb
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2017, 12:24:07 AM »
Note specifically the knuckles pointing up, the index finger on top of the pen, and the the thumb higher up the staff than the tip of the index finger. Also note that there is no finger action. The hand is moved as one single unit.

When I write like this, my thumb is actually slightly below the pen, merely supporting it if this makes sense.
-- Alexander --

Offline Daniel Mastrofski

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Re: Painful Penman's Thumb
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2017, 11:25:15 AM »
@Rednaxela

with much hesitation I changed my technique yesterday and had very little problems once
i got used to the proper grip....not a single pain today.   looks like my fears were easily dismissed
since flourishing has become easier in this grip....thanks so much!
Instagram : @danielmastrofski

Offline Rednaxela

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Re: Painful Penman's Thumb
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2017, 12:34:25 PM »
That's fantastic news Daniel! So glad to hear this!
-- Alexander --

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Painful Penman's Thumb
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2017, 05:35:33 PM »
Three cheers for Alexander! That's wonderful news Daniel!

I was going to tell you today at my cello lesson, the instructor said she spent the first 6 years learning with an incorrect grip. She said it caused daily pain and even a rib to be displaced! Once it was corrected, she did not have the pain again! I instantly thought of you!

I would also suggest trying to be conscious of the amount of pressure you are using. You really do not need a lot once you isolate the right muscles. It's almost an intention instead of pressure.  :)
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline Daniel Mastrofski

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Re: Painful Penman's Thumb
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2017, 09:50:25 PM »
@Erica McPhee

Definitely an aha! moment!  Now to get to work again!
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Offline Sid the Cat

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Re: Painful Penman's Thumb
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2018, 06:42:16 PM »
My thumb started clicking when I flexed it, and Google called it 'Trigger finger'. I wrapped a silicone pad around the stylus I use at work, which helped a bit, but what really help was a visit to a hand surgeon, who put a shot of cortisone into the joint. It took about two weeks for the problem to clear up.