Hands passing wood from wood pile
Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 by UVM Heatlh Network - CVMC

Get Tips for Reducing Achy Hands While Tackling Those Fall Chores

Fall in Vermont!! 

One of my favorite times of the year! The air becomes crisp. Chores get easier to complete in the cooler temps. Throughout our communities, people are raking leaves, stacking wood and getting their homes ready for the coming winter. 

Unfortunately, all this hard work can leave some of us with aching hands!

We rely on the muscles, joints and tendons in our hands to absorb the impact of everyday living. Nothing can affect a person’s independence more than a hand injury.

With time or overuse, our hands might begin to “talk” back. Thumb joints begin to ache. Fingertips become tender. Sensation may diminish. 

How do you protect one of your most valuable assets?

Here is a list of some simple strategies that can help:

Heat: Doesn’t it feel great to wrap your hands around a warm cup of tea or coffee on a brisk morning? Try taking it a step further. Apply a warm compress directly to the thumb and hands. A therapist might also use a paraffin wax treatment to deepen the warmth into the joints.

Range of motion: Lightly open and close your hands several times to help maintain function of your thumb and finger joints. Keep those joints in motion by tapping the tip of your thumb to each finger. It may feel better to submerge your hands in a warm water bath to complete these movements.

Joint protection: Ease your grip when holding rakes and brooms. Wrap handles with cushioning such as pipe insulation to increase your comfort level while you work.

Splinting: Try wearing a splint for additional support during an activity. After an activity, a splint can support tired joints as you continue to use your hands for lighter tasks.

If these suggestions don’t help ease your aching hands, you may want to seek the expertise of an occupational therapist (OT). An OT specially trained in hand therapy can help find strategies that will work for you.

Check out our CVMC Rehabilitation offerings. We now have occupational therapy in Waterbury and Waitsfield!