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Finger Arthritis - Do You Have It?

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  • Finger Arthritis - Do You Have It?

    Hi! I'm 50 and although I think this situation has been around for me for a couple of years; since I got back into working with horses, I'm really feeling it now. Mostly in my right hand (dominant) in both upper pinkie joints; upper joint in pointer - occasionally both upper joints in ringer.

    Questions: How do you deal with this? If you have it, do you expect it to, basically, end your involvement with riding/working with horses?

    I am finding, rapdily, gripping with these fingers is becoming more difficult.


  • #2
    If you can use a heavier, wider rein, that helps a lot. I took a polypropolene leadrope and made it into reins --- softer to grip, big enough that my fingers didn't get stiff.

    Try taking an anti-inflammatory before you ride, and after if needed.

    Experiment to find out if you hands "like" heat or cold. Ice packs or a heating pad after you ride, or in the evening while you are watching TV, can help a lot.

    You might even try some snug gloves --- I've always like the Isotoners. They have an unlined version that is stretchy, but snug, and that extra support when you're riding (or doing housework, lawnwork, whatever bothers your hands) may help.

    Donk (with arthritis in every possible joint known to man, and a few joints that aren't yet identified!)


    • Original Poster

      Thank you so much!!! I think God was watching over me. When I ditched most of my really old tack - I found a pair of WIDE braided reins that are heavier - and I decided to keep them "for some reason". Now I have that reason!


      • #4
        It also helps to get a sponge kiddies' ball to squeeze when you can and there are also balls filled with some kind of granules made for arthritic hands. Part of the key is keeping the hands moving a la Keith Richard - now there is a man with arthritis in his hands but he still plays a mean guitar despite the swollen fingers and huge knots on the joints (good visual of those hands in Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3); the random finger movements look weird but, honestly, they DO help. If you have the knots on your fingers, take care not to whack them against something - hurts like a bugger and makes you say bad words. Other than that, use things easy to grip whether it is a set of reins, a lead rope or a pen and take drugs when the pain gets too bad.
        Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

        Member: Incredible Invisbles


        • #5
          I found mine (which affects the middle fingers mainly) actually improved after I had been riding for awhile (I started riding when I was 51). My hands and wrists have also become much stronger, probably from picking up all those rear hooves and flicking those dandy brushes. I always ride with gloves and prefer thickish rubber reins.


          • #6
            I have RA and my hands are the worst. I find depending on how bad a day I'm having that sometimes I need my special reins. They have electrical tape wrapped around where I normally hold them so I don't have to grip them- I just wedge the taped portion between my fingers and go. For average days though I just use web reins but I am dreaming of getting thinlines. I have found flexibility is just as important as the right width for your hands...can't be too narrow or too wide or it will be uncomortable.
            My blog:



            • Original Poster

              Thanks everyone !!

              Yes I do have those knobs - and, oh yeah, DO they hurt when you bang them on something!!

              I also see that black cherry juice is good - I'm going to try that. I bought Aspercream and put some on before going to the barn today - it helped some. During barn time - it mostly hurts when I sweep, brush, or wash a horse. At home it is late at night, or when I wake up in the morning.

              By the way - does anyone know if they make thick foam-rubber grips that you can attach to a broomstick? Thanks again!


              • #8
                Originally posted by onthehill View Post
                By the way - does anyone know if they make thick foam-rubber grips that you can attach to a broomstick? Thanks again!
                Pipe insulation?

                Also, if you take NSAIDs, take them before you start doing whatever the task is that will be hard on your hands, and set an alarm for however many hours it is until you can take the next dose, and then take that too. (Even if you're not in pain at that point.) It helps keep the inflammation from building up to pain levels.

                For riding, I find wearing gloves helps a lot - I feel like I have to grip the reins with less tension because the gloves add some friction between my hands and the reins, so I'm able to relax my hands a little more so they don't end up as stiff.

                Also, during walk breaks, you can hold the reins in one hand for a bit and flatten out the other against your leg or something, to stretch your fingers a little. Then swap reins and do the opposite hand.


                • #9
                  I use these detachable loop reins, they are nylon and the loops have bycle handle(the rubber part) over the loops, the rest of the rein had 6 d's that you can use to adjust the length with snaps, also by the bit can be adjusted too.

                  LOVE them, if i have to ride without them i ride on the buckle or super loopy.

                  I got them from freedomrider, the only problem is they are quite short for anything over 16hh I really wish they were made longer for the big guys
                  Beyond the Ring-para dressage, training, coaching

                  Proud Team Four Star Minion! Renegade for Life!


                  • #10
                    My mother is a professional pianist, and she has arthritis in the joints in her thumbs. How she sleeps really affects her hands throughout the day- she can't sleep with them all curled up or lay on them, this makes them stiff for days. We fashioned gloves for her that keep her fingers and thumbs loose through the night (the gloves are holding onto a large cylinder of foam, with the thumbs resting on the end).
                    Reasons I'm crazy, #37: I went out shopping for a pony and came home with a 17hh OTTB
                    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~