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Thread: how do you avoid shaking hands with arthritic hands?

  1. #1
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    I have arthritis in my hands and some days is very painful and sensitive. It hurts alot to have someone grab a hand. How do you polietly refuse to shake someones hand that is offered without looking like I am nuts or stuck up?

  2. #2
    bkb
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    on bad days wear gloves and just tell them you would love t shake hands but the arthritis prevents me from doing so.

  3. #3
    QuiltingHiker's Avatar
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    Looking forward to this answer? My husband is in business and hand shakes are the norm. Some guys like to really give the death grip shake. He doesn't want to sound like an old wuss but says it hurts like hell.

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    exactly

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    Super Member Diana Lynne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toomanycats
    I have arthritis in my hands and some days is very painful and sensitive. It hurts alot to have someone grab a hand. How do you polietly refuse to shake someones hand that is offered without looking like I am nuts or stuck up?
    Just tell them that today your arthritis is hurting alot and please forgive me for not shaking hands..I think that most people would understand

  6. #6
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    That is a hard one. I suffer from a rare autoimmune disease that has given me lots of problems that are not necessarily visible to the casual viewer. Perhaps when the pain is at it's worst you could wear gloves. Make them a bright color like red so they can't help but notice. It might make people reluctant to grab as quickly.
    I wear a hat almost everywhere but my own home as sunlight and florescent light may could increase my symptoms. I volunteer with the quilters at our local Senior Center. One of the ladies after months finally got bold enough to ask me if I was bald under my hat. You might try wearing a small sign with a hand that says "please don't touch" or just "ouch". If the person is worth knowing they should be more than willing to greet you in another way. Over the last ten years my hats have been a subject of many a lively discussion. I get lots of compliments and lots of questions. It gives me an opportunity to educate others about my disease or them an opportunity to tap that compassion that makes us human.
    Unfortunately there are a lot of "dumb clods" in this world. One of our quilters is 90 and has a frozen shoulder. This one guy who thinks he is God's gift to the females of our world always gives her a big hug every time he sees her. Having had a frozen shoulder several years ago I can imagine how she feels. She is also thirty years my senior and very frail. I may have to slap some sense into him the next time he does it in front of me.

  7. #7
    Senior Member quilticing's Avatar
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    I read in a presidential biography book a trick they use in a reception line: extend your left hand and keep a finger or thumb tucked in your palm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toomanycats
    I have arthritis in my hands and some days is very painful and sensitive. It hurts alot to have someone grab a hand. How do you polietly refuse to shake someones hand that is offered without looking like I am nuts or stuck up?
    I have RA in my hands and I just make sure that only the tips of my fingers get grabbed when shaking hands. Bend at the nuckles with your fingers at a 90 degree or so. You thumb will automaticly stop them from grabbing your whole hand. It gets easier as you go. Good Luck and lots of hugs.

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    I wish we could do away with the custom of hand shaking.

    Not only for the reasons listed above, but also it's a quick way to spread disease.

    I remember crying out in pain one time when a co-worker I hadn't seen in a while rushed up to me and energeticly shook my hand. I was in my early 40's then and hadn't had any problems. I wasn't expecting the hand shake so my hand was not "flat" and he crushed my hand. It hurt so bad and he felt bad when I cried out in pain.

    And I hope people leave the bear hugs with the bears. A gentle hug is a lot better.

  10. #10
    liblueeyes66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toomanycats
    I have arthritis in my hands and some days is very painful and sensitive. It hurts alot to have someone grab a hand. How do you polietly refuse to shake someones hand that is offered without looking like I am nuts or stuck up?
    A gentleman at church that can't shake because the meds he is on makes it easy for him to get germs makes a fist and just gently touches his hand to anothers fist.
    And he just politely says to new people I can't shake the normal way but I do this... and explains.

  11. #11
    Super Member Jill's Avatar
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    As a fellow sufferer, I simply explain that I have arthritis and cannot shake hands. I have yet to have someone not understand, they have all been very kind about it. And anyone with arthritis will know what you're talking about.

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    Super Member KathyAire's Avatar
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    Bob Dole always carried a pen or pencil in his hand so no one would grab his hand. He had time to explain to them about not shaking hands.

    http://projects.newsobserver.com/und...bob_doles_hand

  13. #13
    Senior Member tealady's Avatar
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    Maybe we need to bring back the etiquette of a curtsey.

  14. #14
    Super Member Deborah12687's Avatar
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    I just avoid the hand shake by putting my hand on there sholder to greet them.

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    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I put out both hands, and I place their hand in between mine. This is MY version of a handshake :wink:

    I have fibro and arthritis in my hands, and this works for me :wink: I will explain if I get a quizzical look that my ol' hands get hurt easily. :D:D:D

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    i just put my hands behind my back and nod my head they seem to get the massage good luck

  17. #17
    Junior Member hatchet's Avatar
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    Actually, I just don't like to touch other people's skin for some reason so I give a hug in the winter and wave during the summer, it seems to work. It's only failed a couple of times with extremely pushy people but they only do it once.

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    If a regular customer comes in they can tell by the way my mom looks how she feels.Even then they will simply pat her hand or shoulder. On a real good day they will hug her. If someone new starts to shake her hand,then I tell them that she has medical problems and cannot shake hands due to the pain.Mom laughs at me and calls me her guard dog and in a way I guess I am and proud to be that. If you tell someone you have a problem that prohibits strong handshakes or any handshakes,most people will understand.

  19. #19
    Super Member roseOfsharon's Avatar
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    I believe in being upfront and truthful. Just say your arthritis keeps you from giving handshakes these days! But a smile and hello works just fine!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by roseOfsharon
    I believe in being upfront and truthful. Just say your arthritis keeps you from giving handshakes these days! But a smile and hello works just fine!
    99% of the time if you give people a chance to understand by being upfront and truthful,they will. I would like to believe there is good in everyone,sometimes you just gotta dig a little deeper to find it. A friendly smile is as good or better than a handshake,some days a friendly smile is exactly what I need.

  21. #21
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    The 2 had method works, and I sometimes make sure I only make contact with the finger part of their hand so they cannot get a good grip on my sore joints.

  22. #22
    Senior Member FranW's Avatar
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    Politely but firmly explain that handshaking is painful for medical reasons. I have systemic lupus so I totally understand your feelings. Most people will be very understanding. And if they are not, their loss! Take care.

  23. #23
    davidwent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tealady
    Maybe we need to bring back the etiquette of a curtsey.
    or bow

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion
    The 2 had method works, and I sometimes make sure I only make contact with the finger part of their hand so they cannot get a good grip on my sore joints.
    That would work good cause with arthritis the problem is in the joints.Have you tried sports cream on your hands? I have a friend with RA and she puts it on her hands at bedtime and then wears cotton gloves. She tells me that her hands have quit hurting as bad as they used to.

  25. #25
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    I have bad arthritis in my hands and I have found giving them my fingers and a very light feminine shake.


    how to do it
    when they reach to shake, grab their fingers have yours slightly bent, and place your thumb on the top of their fingers.
    Do not place much pressure in the shake and most people will follow suit

    I alway picture it much like in the way back when times when a lady would give her hand and the man kissed it. Well that is the hold I am doing for shaking.

    Hope it helps and if its a really bad day then explain to them that your arthritis is acting up

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