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Thread: Tendonitis from Quilt-making?

  1. #1
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    Anyone else out there suffering from a very sore thumb(s) due to quilt-making? If so, have you found anything that helps?

    I damaged the tendon(s) at the base of my left thumb several years ago when I tied too many fleece blankets in a short period of time. While it has never fully healed, I find that cutting, piecing, quilting, and binding quilts exacerbate the problem. (The worst offenders are quilting and binding.)

    Has anyone found a solution to this problem? Is there a way to "tape" or brace the thumb that allows it to heal? I don't want to give up quilting for months if there's another way to fix this problem.

    Thanks in advance for any wisdom you can provide.

  2. #2
    Super Member Izaquilter's Avatar
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    I can't wait to see the replies on this one! I did the same thing but with the Betty Cotton fold & finish quilt. I too was really pushing to get this done & both of my thumbs became so sore. It seemed like it lasted forever but it's now gone & I have yet to finish that quilt. Looking forward to the answers you get

  3. #3
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    mine came from cutting up TONS of ultrasuede! I have to wear a "hand-eze" glove now if I plan to do a lot of cutting!

  4. #4
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Do you have a chiropractor who is also a kinesiologist in your area? My family has had so many injuries of this type in sports and life in general and we've had amazing results. I've also found that using the fingerless gloves sold at JoAnn's are wonderful if I'm going to be doing any repetitive activities. I do need new ones. Mine are very coral colored from painting the trim on my house. In your case, I might even sleep in one. Because they are lightweight, they aren't very confining. I've seen them in senior health catalogs, too. I hope you can find help. Giving up quilting is serious!

    edit: That's the brand of gloves I have. Thank you, Jacquie

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok
    I have to wear a "hand-eze" glove now if I plan to do a lot of cutting!
    What is a "hand-eze" glove? How does it work? Do you recommend it?

  6. #6
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    I have Tendonitis in both elbows. There is no cure for tendonitis. Apercreame, Ben-gay, or Bio-Freeze works for me, rub on sore area and hope it feels better soon. A weather change can cause pain from tendonities as over working muscles.

  7. #7
    Super Member butterflies5518's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok
    mine came from cutting up TONS of ultrasuede! I have to wear a "hand-eze" glove now if I plan to do a lot of cutting!
    I wear the hand-eze alot, hand stitching makes my fingers sore and also wear it at work - on the computer 8 hours daily and when super achy wear a craft glove at night (longer finger, tighter weave keeps the hand from swelling), I transform into the green hand lady at night but hey it works!

  8. #8
    Super Member Jill's Avatar
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    I don't know the brand name, but my dr. prescribed a brace that I was able to get through a medical supply store--that way my insurance paid for most of it. I had to wear it at night and eventually the pain was gone. I could wear it during the day if I was basically taking it easy and not using my hand very much.

  9. #9
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    http://www.drugstore.com/handeze-the...92?catid=60001
    Click on 'thumb stabilizers' in the center column at the bottom of the page for more thumb specific supports.

  10. #10
    Senior Member nycbgirl's Avatar
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    A sports Dr told me to take minerals. He was a customer at work and very arrogant so he didn't explain anything to me. So I remembered my friend told me that her grandmother took Alfalfa and it helped her arthritis so I researched it and lo and behold it's loaded with minerals! Whst I did was: I took 25 (yes 25!) alfalfa pills a day for about 1 week (10 in the morn 10 in the evening 5 at dinner) then took 5-10 a day after that and my tendonitis healed. I do not need it any longer unless I spend hours typng. That was about 15 years ago.

  11. #11
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    From a quilt making standpoint, I would invest in some ergonomic tools. I'm not chiropractor or even someone who has experianced tendonitis so I can't claim this will 100% help. But they're supposed to be easier on your hands so it might be worth looking into. If anything you should talk with your chiropractor on what you can do to treat or fix the problem.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sushi
    Anyone else out there suffering from a very sore thumb(s) due to quilt-making? If so, have you found anything that helps?

    I damaged the tendon(s) at the base of my left thumb several years ago when I tied too many fleece blankets in a short period of time. While it has never fully healed, I find that cutting, piecing, quilting, and binding quilts exacerbate the problem. (The worst offenders are quilting and binding.)
    Check out Liuxin Newman's book & DVD _Perfect Hand Quilting Without Pain_. She has done extensive research into the ergonomics of hand quilting and her methods really work.

    She uses a thimble with very deep dimples, a quilt very loose in the hoop so it can be folded and distributing the task of quilting between three fingers to reduce the strength needed to push the needle to literally almost nothing. I still have problems using too much strength and I feel like I'm barely touching the needle!

    No pricked fingers, no tendon pain, no need to hurt yourself. Just beautiful hand quilted stitches, up to 16 per inch counted on one side (depending on fabric and batting used).

  13. #13
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    i hadc2 have surgery on my thumb.wasn' 2 bad.hope 2 be back sewing in a litte time.the bone was worn ouy with arithrisis.

  14. #14
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    I wear a Futuro brace on my right hand. The only thing that really helps is complete rest at this point. Next week I am going to try accupuncture before going to a hand surgeon. This just started this summer and I have gotten so far behind on WIPs and things I want to do. Good luck..it is not fun!

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    Shaklee Alfalfa sure works in combination with Vit C for all the arthritis and tendon type problems. Shaklee.com all natural vitamins and minerals as found in nature. you are after all what you eat.

  16. #16
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    Carole LeRoy has also written on Pain Free Quilting. You can look her up on the web under 'pain free quilting.' She has a quilting B&B in Appleton, WI which is lovely. Samll groups go there for a stitchery: embroidery, knitting, crochet, or quilting vacation.

    ali

  17. #17
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Right now my index finger on my right hand is killing me. I took a class at the beginning of August on reverse fusible applique where you use a surgical seam ripper held flat on the freezer paper/fabric/fusible combo and cut out the shapes. You have to push fairly hard on the seam ripper and it made my finger really, really sore. I agravated it when I did the hand sewing on a binding a week ago at retreat. Then I hand basted a quilt and after it was quilted I worked the thread ends in and it's back to really sore.

    Of course using the mouse and typing don't help it a whole lot either.

  18. #18
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I found out mine was from all the ironing... with a heavy iron full of water .

  19. #19
    Super Member May in Jersey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mskityocat
    Shaklee Alfalfa sure works in combination with Vit C for all the arthritis and tendon type problems. Shaklee.com all natural vitamins and minerals as found in nature. you are after all what you eat.
    I'm interested in what kind of arthritis problems it helps. I have advanced arthritis in my left knee, not painful but it does affect my walking.

  20. #20
    Senior Member shnnn's Avatar
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    I started having problems with tendonitis about 14 years ago -- it never really does heal. It just subsides. It's an inflamation of the tendon - so anything that will help with swelling will help - ice, advil etc. My chiropracter at the time was treating me with ultra-sound to help reduce the swelling. I rarely have troubles any more - but not sure if it's just because I've modified the way I do things so as not to aggrivate it, or if it has to do with being healthier in general.

  21. #21
    Super Member butterflies5518's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    Right now my index finger on my right hand is killing me. I took a class at the beginning of August on reverse fusible applique where you use a surgical seam ripper held flat on the freezer paper/fabric/fusible combo and cut out the shapes. You have to push fairly hard on the seam ripper and it made my finger really, really sore. I agravated it when I did the hand sewing on a binding a week ago at retreat. Then I hand basted a quilt and after it was quilted I worked the thread ends in and it's back to really sore.

    Of course using the mouse and typing don't help it a whole lot either.
    an erognomic mouse will help on the computer, I use one at work and home - I noticed a big difference, plus an arthritis hand glove ebay less than $7 a pair and you can use them on either hand)

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by May in Jersey
    Quote Originally Posted by mskityocat
    Shaklee Alfalfa sure works in combination with Vit C for all the arthritis and tendon type problems. Shaklee.com all natural vitamins and minerals as found in nature. you are after all what you eat.
    I'm interested in what kind of arthritis problems it helps. I have advanced arthritis in my left knee, not painful but it does affect my walking.
    My mom had to have both knees replaced. In the years before the surgery, she and my dad were active travellers and she did not want to slow down just because her knees were bad.

    So her doctor suggested hiking poles, which look like ski poles but with cane tips on the ends. When used one in each hand, the hiking poles take some of the weight off the legs. It was enough to let her do stuff like a walking tour of Baltimore, etc.

    A word of caution: if you use a cane, consider getting a forearm crutch instead. Canes are very hard on the wrists! I wrecked one wrist and was on my way to wrecking the other before someone shoved a forearm crutch into my hands and made me promise to just give it a try for 30 minutes. After three minutes, I was hooked.

  23. #23
    Senior Member donna13350's Avatar
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    You can buy finger splints at walmart...they are really hard to find...come in a teeny little box in the section where they sell band-aids and foot cushions...if you wear them at night and whenever you can, they will help rest the tendons in your thumbs...it took a good 4 months for me, but they were the only thing that helped...they are just a piece of soft metal lined with foam, they are easy to adjust to the shape of your thrumb...I had to tape around mine because they kept slipping off...but they did work.

  24. #24
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    Seriously it does help arthritis. It gives the joints what they need to formulate the lubricant and takes the swelling away. Go to Shaklee.com and go to the alfalfa and read all the stuff there. Its amazing within several months I didn't have any signs of the arthritis pain. I'm 68 and was
    a lot of pain and none now. I'm back to walking and riding my bike.

  25. #25
    Junior Member kuseta's Avatar
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    I have tendonitis in my elbow that I think started with a marathon sewing/quilting session a couple months ago. Dr. suggested a band used for tennis elbow and it helps some while I'm wearing it, but seems to make it worse if I don't wear it. Thanks for the alfalfa tip, I'm looking into that now.

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