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Aging fingers

Any help with 'fire in the knuckles'?

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Bob Stevenson24/08/2021 09:36:06
561 forum posts
7 photos

This has been sparked by Micheal G's topic about Gitzo tripods;.....

One of the things I like about making clocks is the handwork involved. Whereas many people here are looking to CNC to eliminate the need for filing, cutting and sawing etc., I actually enjoy it and have for many years......cutting out a new set of clock plates I find to be a very pleasureable interlude from the harshness of the world. Get some Mahler or Rachmaninov on,...good quality blades for the piercing saw,......sun thru the window, asleep in her in the world!.....deep satisfaction!

Likewise with the other hand tasks such as filing and working thru the abrasives to reach the right finish. Unfortunately, the fingers are not really keeping up with production any more. Not really arthritis, as yet (thankfully!) but time and wear and tear taking their toll. Longer rest periods now the allow my hands to recover and painful moments when it feels like my knuckles have been plugged into the mains! Also, aching finger joints the day after a heavy session is getting tiresome.

I doubt I am alone in this so lets have any answers that you have found please.

For my part, I always wear thin work gloves for hand work and have now for a few years...they are fabric with a plasticised palm and fingers and I have come to like their feel as they offer a light, but useful, cushion between fingers and gripped tools...

Copper bracelets may work but I can't really notice a meaningful difference.....magnets possibly are more effective but I have not experimented long enough as yet to make a definitive statement.

One remedy that does seem to be effective are the 'tissue salts' invented by Dr.Schuessler sold in the UK as 'New Era tissue salts'. This is definately 'alternative' therapy and my wife is a believer, unlike me,... but amazingly it does seem to help!

John Haine24/08/2021 09:52:18
4188 forum posts
242 photos

I think copper bracelets, magnets etc are essentially placebos. What does work is massaging Ibuleve or a similar ibuprofen gel into hands. Reduces inflammation and pain.

Ady124/08/2021 10:16:32
4754 forum posts
715 photos

Physio type exercises have worked for my knees hips and currently working on my thumb

As we age the circulation systems and lubrication systems become less effective and we can help them with movement/exercise regimes

My knee issue is here

I'm currently on my thumb joint which is a long term thing ignored until now

Put simply, as you manipulate a dodgy joint, instead of it squeaking like a car ball joint from a lack of oil, a living ball joint registers pain

The pain you feel is the joint squeaking

So if it hurts you're not spreading any oil (joint fluid) over the damaged section from other parts of the joint so you must be moving it the wrong way, so you have to find another direction or route

A tiny amount of pain means you're doing it wrong, no pain means you're doing it right, the relief from pain is amazingly fast with joint fluid

I'm actually feeling it "click" over the damaged bit sometimes now with no pain because there's some fluid there

My knee issue tried to return a couple of weeks ago but a few days on the bed got rid of it

That exercise uses gravity and movement to spread joint fluid over the weakness

I suppose old age is all about managing our weaknesses

Edited By Ady1 on 24/08/2021 10:18:26

Edited By Ady1 on 24/08/2021 10:44:09

pgk pgk24/08/2021 10:17:33
2324 forum posts
293 photos

Arthritis = inflammation of joint irrespective of cause so response to meds will vary from folk depending on individual 'cause'

Also consider muscular spasms, cramps and simple bruising, repetitive strain, tendonitis and ligament inflammations.

It's a realistic sadness that as we age we don't recover so well but because of the multitude of variations o specific cause it's clear that one person's home remedy may not suit another.. Buzzwords/phrases such as 'anti-oxidants to scavenge free radicals'.'anti-inflammatory nutrients' and then various charms - copper bracelets, magnets or photodynamic therapies - the latter gaining credibility.

Green-lipped muscle, shark cartilage and bovine cartilage supplements were fashionable as substances rich in some nutrients and chondroitin and glucosamine.

Evening primrose oil (also blackcurrant oil, borage oil) as sources of GLA and precursors which metabolise to inflammatory and anti-inflammatory products and then add Omega-3 fatty acids (Cod liver oil example) to push the metabolism to anti-inflammatory products preferentially.. To get an effect you need quite large doses - usually more than the levels sold in health food shops jumping on the bandwagon of 'nutraceuticals'

Remember, many folk will praise a product when it was just their placebo response.

Aspirin has much to commend it - but as with all these products check interactions with any meds you're on.

The latest fad that is proving itself in Vitamin D supplementation - again quite high doses needed and most of us are way under on theoretical levels - more so if huddled into a shed and in winter and windows filter light wavelengths. Cod liver oil is such a source but watch you don't overdo the vitamin A in it or go for a purer source.

Selenium and Vit E as antioxidants are also traditional - Brazil nuts as a source of selenium.

There should be enough pointers above for some reading but watch out stick to quality literature sources as opposed to hype and opinion.

Lastly. Whilst very sceptical I did go through a period of messing about with acupuncture and surprised myself by finding some animal patients with very good responses. You can get a placebo response there if the owner claims it's working but if a patient with proven severe osteoarthritic changes (x -ray) starts to trot about after a few sessions it does make one a believer at least as pain relief for a subset of patients.


Rik Shaw24/08/2021 11:18:59
1458 forum posts
396 photos

Like a lot on here I get the usual arthritic creaks but what really stops me in my tracks - maybe once a week - is cramp in either my left or right hand where my fingers curl up into a claw. Once it starts it is impossible to work. I have not found a remedy so when it happens I just abandon work and wait a few hours for it to go away.


JA24/08/2021 11:35:01
1228 forum posts
73 photos

The carpal tunnel problem in my right hand which I have had for years is worsening and I have been refered for an operation. Essentially the noise from the trapped nerve destroys the sense of touch in the first two fingers and thumb. The short term steriod inject was just very painful. I am now dropping things like china plates. As for working in the workshop lots of valueless items are allowed to remain on the floor until they are swept up.

I like the above analysis. Painkillers do nothing to cure the problems. I avoid them. Friends have had acupuncture with success and I am sure good palliativesexist in nature. I know all about free radicals, general they are found in junk articles selling pills etc and in flames. If you really want free radicals buy a box of matches.


pgk pgk24/08/2021 12:29:49
2324 forum posts
293 photos

The free radicals are real - even those not yet incarcerated in totalitarian jails.

You need to dive into the murky waters of cytokines and cyclo-oxigenases for more on inflammation.

Covid19 infection leads to a cytokine storm responsible for the early deaths before the medical world go off their backsides and started using dexamethasone. Delay because convention says not to use corticosteroids in viral disease - a little nonsensical since there's a world of difference between anti-inflammatory doses and immunosuppressive doses. There is ample evidence of vit D levels being below par in many people - but try to persuade your GP to get yours checked - and the effectiveness of vit D in moderating infammation.
Covid and Vit D


Mark Rand24/08/2021 13:33:27
1062 forum posts
12 photos

I'm just glad that model engineers don't tend to run hospitals and pharmacies.

'nuff said...

old mart24/08/2021 15:01:31
3349 forum posts
208 photos

I was diagnosed with arthritis 35 years ago and my fingers were first to be affected. Now I cannot touch any of my finger tips with the thumb on the same hand, or make a fist. The doctor gave me a good bit of advice, "keep your hands straight or they will end up like claws". I have taken glucosomine sulphate and omega 3 for many years, they might have slowed the onset, I will never know for sure.

In the workshop I keep telescopic magnets which do help with bending down and aid picking up ferrous objects dropped. I have one of those long grabbers at home, and even find the spring loaded trigger difficult and painful.

Harry Wilkes24/08/2021 15:49:30
1178 forum posts
64 photos
Posted by JA on 24/08/2021 11:35:01:

The carpal tunnel problem in my right hand which I have had for years is worsening and I have been refered for an operation. Essentially the noise from the trapped nerve destroys the sense of touch in the first two fingers and thumb. The short term steriod inject was just very painful. I am now dropping things like china plates. As for working in the workshop lots of valueless items are allowed to remain on the floor until they are swept up.

I like the above analysis. Painkillers do nothing to cure the problems. I avoid them. Friends have had acupuncture with success and I am sure good palliativesexist in nature. I know all about free radicals, general they are found in junk articles selling pills etc and in flames. If you really want free radicals buy a box of matches.


JA had the op on my left hand it cured the tingling but left woth out any feeling in fingers and still wear support due to arthritis, now have CT in right hand no tingling just numb fingers so leaving it a that for the moment and to make up for this I use long nose pliers and tweezers a lot


Steviegtr24/08/2021 17:08:13
2244 forum posts
311 photos

I had to pack in last night. Thumbs & a couple of fingers kept locking up. Today they seem fine. It gets more regular. Especially turning the machine hand wheels & when sanding.


speelwerk24/08/2021 18:46:59
420 forum posts
2 photos

I am at an age (65) that my fingers give not much trouble yet, therefore cannot advice you about that. But as you, I like the handwork and can definitely confirm that filing, cutting and sawing etc. goes much better with a Mahler symphony or a Rachmaninov piano concert on. Sun is a bit problematic since it blinds me because of a wrongly placed window. Niko.

mgnbuk24/08/2021 20:36:45
1036 forum posts
69 photos

The carpal tunnel problem in my right hand which I have had for years is worsening and I have been refered for an operation.

Carpal Tunnel decompression ops are not too bad - I had my right done when I was 30 and the left at 40 & in both cases was back at work after 4 weeks. The nerve conduction tests while being diagosed were more uncomfortable than the procedure & recovery for me. The wound site was a bit "tender" for a while after healing up & let me know if I was attempting to do too much too soon.

The first ended up being done under a general anaesthetic after a double dose of the local didn't work. By the time I had the second one done the type & method administering the local had changed & the op was very quick - my wife dropped me off at 7.30am on her way to work & they rang her at 10.30 to say I was ready to go home. As a tourniquet was used before they went in, they started a stop watch & IIRC I was "in and out" in under 13 minutes - then tea & toast in the recovery suite. The second needed some ultra sound physio to reduce sensitivity at the wound site after it had healed, but other than that life has been a lot more comfortable since having had them done.

I'm plagued by worn out bottom thumb joints. The excruciating steroid injection to the right one had no discernable effect (as happened before the first Carpal Tunnel op), so I'm awaiting a trapeziectomy (complete removal of the worn out trapezium bone at the base of the thumb) - should have been done last Autumn, but the Chinapox upset those plans & hopefully it will now will happen this Autumn. A lot more invasive than the Carpal Tunnel ops & 3-6 months recovery . Depending how that works out, it may well be the same again on the left. I want to have it done in the Autum as I would like to be active again by the Spring (and I dislike commuting in Winter !).

As far as aleviating the discomfort after "doing stuff" goes, I take Ibuprofen or use Ibuprofen gel.

Not seeing too many advantages to getting older so far !

Nigel B.

Bob Stevenson25/08/2021 07:58:49
561 forum posts
7 photos

Thank you to all the responders! Some very interesting stuff here and it has shown me that I should be grateful for what I still have a not complain when it 'stings a bit'!

Thanks again! Bob S

JA25/08/2021 08:22:42
1228 forum posts
73 photos

Nigel, thanks for the information.

Both my sister and mother had carpal tunnel operations. My mother had hers in her 80s and refused a second operation on her other hand while my sister got the problem after the birth of her second child. I believe it is genetic and can be brought on by pregnancy (not in my case).

I wish you every success the trapeziectomy.


mark costello 125/08/2021 18:43:20
671 forum posts
12 photos

I had carpal tunnel syndrome and quite by accident I found a physical therapist who was trained to do the Hughston set of exercises. I had relief in 2-3 days. My arm had gone atrophic and has fully recovered with no surgery. No other Doctor that I have found around here has heard of them, it is basically a pinched nerve at the base of the skull and the exercises take the pressure off. You might give it a try but seems hard to find.

Edited By mark costello 1 on 25/08/2021 18:46:38

pgk pgk25/08/2021 20:28:11
2324 forum posts
293 photos

Intrigued, I looked up the Hughston exercises and Google tells me they are for rotator cuff and scapula instability rather than carpal tunnel. Implication there is either a misdiagnosis by GP or Physio and fortuitous luck or two problems. But it worked for you so happy outcome.

I'm reminded of a dog presented to me in the early 80's with radial nerve paralysis, which shows as an inability to weight bear and the paw knuckling over such that it drags and excoriates the dorsal surface. This had happened after falling down the stairs. Radiographs showed no abnormalities and I treated with rest and anti-inflammatories with no improvement. Back then nerve conduction studies were unavailable for pets but might have pinpointed the level of the lesion. Conventional treatment for unresolved cases was amputation - something I hate doing, so I delayed to give dog the best chance but inevitably ended up booking him in for the Op. On the morning it was due he fell down the stairs again and promptly recovered use of the leg.

All that really proves is that sometimes one has to look deeper into individual cases or current diagnostic tools aren't good enough. Likely nerve conduction studies and possibly MRI or CT would have shown location of the lesion and allowed for manipulation but not available in the 80's and even now things get missed - sometimes just due to economics.

I'm not suggesting you all throw yourselves down the stairs


old mart25/08/2021 20:48:28
3349 forum posts
208 photos

One thing that relieves osteo arthritis temporarily is hot water. My fingers are better after doing the washing up.

Martin Kyte25/08/2021 22:55:18
2570 forum posts
45 photos

Rather than play around with 'remedies' a closer look at relieving the demand on finger pressure may be one way to go. For example in order to polish clock wheel faces you can just grab the things with your fingers and rub on a sheet of abrasive but due to the crossing out there are restrictions on where you place your fingers so they don't get rubbed away too. This can require quite a lot of pressure and some rather contorted finger positions. Alternatively a carrier can be turned up composing of a comfortable knob shape with a small spigot on the underside to locate in the reamed hole on the middlle of the wheel. In use much of the pressure on the fingers is reduced and work can proceed with less discomfort.

Other things to watch are good stance, comfortable file handles especially on small files including needle files. Using larger files when you can, frequent relaxation rather than pushing through the pain barrier etc.

It's just a matter of identifying what processes cause the greatest problem and taking pains to lighten the load to your hands rather than put up with the pain in your hands. It's not a cure but it will optimise your capacity.

regards Martin

Edited By Martin Kyte on 25/08/2021 22:55:43

V8Eng25/08/2021 23:45:44
1634 forum posts
32 photos

On the subject of carpal tunnel problems: my wife had both hands/wrists done about 7 years ago and was really amazed at the great results


Edited By V8Eng on 25/08/2021 23:47:40

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