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Thread: Can my swollen pinky finger be because of quilting?

  1. #1
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Can my swollen pinky finger be because of quilting?

    I have been battling a swollen pinky finger that sometimes itches for three weeks. It was finally getting better, and then I pinned a large quilt top, and it started up again. This is the pinky finger on my right hand, the hand that does all the work. I think I just dragged it all over the pins as I stuck them in the fabric and as I closed them, even though I have a Kwip Klip tool that helps me close and open the pins.

    Then I remembered that 3 weeks ago, when the finger started bothering, I hand basted the binding on the quilt before this one, which means that about four days before that I put pins in a quilt.

    I am wondering if there is some sort of a "quilter's finger" that anyone else gets from quilting? I sort of think I might be better off without this little finger (not that I want to get rid of it, mind you), as I think I just drag it all over everything and that irritates it somehow.

    Does anyone else have something like this, or do I need to explore other things I do? Soaking it in warm water with Epson Salts and using anti-itch ointment had almost "cured" it until I put all those pins in this quilt yesterday.

    Ideas? I am all ears. Thanks... Maybe there is no relationship at all??

    Dina

  2. #2
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    Have you used starch on your fabric? You might be sensitive to it. Sometimes the palms of our hands are much tougher than the rest of our skin, so it might only be bothering you as you slide across and not when you just touch it.
    When one of my boys was born, the laundry at the hospital mistakenly put starch on the pillowcases they used as sheets in the newborn nursery. All the babies ended up with a red rash wherever their skin touched the starched fabric. Created all sorts of panic in the hospital!
    legendarycandles.com

  3. #3
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    Could it be inflammation in the joints from overuse? That can cause swelling and itch. I have had that in my elbows. Diagnosed as bursitis, and did include swelling going up my arms, redness, and intense itching because the skin was swollen.
    Last edited by NanaCsews2; 03-08-2012 at 07:44 PM.

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    Possibly you are twisting the pinky inward toward the palm as you rest your hand down to pin. If the pain decreases susbtantially within a week or two of not pinning or using it you have your answer. If not- you may have arthritis, perhaps gout. The itchiness is likely from the heat of the inflammation rather than allergy if you prewash your fabrics. Let us know how it turns out. Get better soon!

  5. #5
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    I'd try to find some light weight cotton gloves for a while-- it may help to see if it's irritation/allergy or over use.
    Bernie

  6. #6
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Okay, thanks. I suppose I should take a few weeks off from quilting to see if it gets better. I will try all of your suggestions too. I sort of expected to hear this was a common thing called Quilter's Finger, or something. Guess that isn't the case.

    Thanks for your help.

    Dina

  7. #7
    Senior Member Phyllis42's Avatar
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    I had a red, swollen pinky finger a few years ago when I was knitting. Dr. said to wrap it with a bandaid for awhile to keep that joint straight. Worked!

  8. #8
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Thanks, Phyllis, that is worth a try too.

    Dina

  9. #9
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monroe View Post
    Possibly you are twisting the pinky inward toward the palm as you rest your hand down to pin. If the pain decreases susbtantially within a week or two of not pinning or using it you have your answer. If not- you may have arthritis, perhaps gout. The itchiness is likely from the heat of the inflammation rather than allergy if you prewash your fabrics. Let us know how it turns out. Get better soon!
    I agree that it has something to do with over use and improper ergonomics. Working in a place that involves intence hand work for production I know a little about keeping hands wrists, arms and shoulders in a neutral position when working. Do a search on line for hand ergonomics and stretches you can do to help ease the muscles you are over using. Take a break when doing these tasks that involve repetitive motion and using pressure with your hand. You might not think you are doing a lot of work but you are.
    peace
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  10. #10
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phyllis42 View Post
    I had a red, swollen pinky finger a few years ago when I was knitting. Dr. said to wrap it with a bandaid for awhile to keep that joint straight. Worked!
    I do this at work for several differnt jobs I do that cause the fingers to get twisted and it really does help to keep knuckles straight while you work.
    peace
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

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