Dealing with arthritis in your thumbs?

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Home Forums General Forums General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion Dealing with arthritis in your thumbs?

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  • #3747212
    BPL Member


    Locale: Western Colorado

    Of all the age related maladies I’m dealing with, arthritis in my thumbs is the most unexpected. Trips to the doc and PT haven’t told me anything more than I already knew. My question to anyone dealing with this is, what are you doing to improve your comfort on trail? I’m an avid pole user and am not willing to give them up, so I’ve been experimenting with different gloves, cycling tape on the hand grips, loosening my grip, different grip positions, and using my poles less. OTC meds also play a part in my kit.  I’d love to hear from others who deal with this condition and know what you’re doing about it. Thanks!

    Todd T
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Do you use the straps on your poles (correctly)?  If used correctly, the straps essentially relieve you of having to grip the poles at all, obviating the need to “loosen” your grip.  They do put some pressure on your thumb where it joins your hand; don’t know if that would be a bother to to you.

    BPL Member


    Locale: Northern California

    I’m a classical guitar player. when I use my poles, I often feel some stress in my thumb area.

    Ice is very good for this. After a long session practicing, I’ll plunge my hands into a bucket of ice. If you’re in the mountains with any snow, you may try this, as ridiculous as it may sound. If you feel the ache at home, try the ice therapy. And yes, ibuprofen helps. So does holding poles as lightly as possible.

    Iago Vazquez
    BPL Member


    Locale: Boston & Galicia, Spain

    I don’t have experience with Pacerpoles, but I have looked around and read a couple of reviews. They are quite heavy. But they claim: “Relaxed hand position with minimal grip required”, which is what made me think of them. Would they make a difference? As I said, I don’t have experience with them. Perhaps, look around. I know has featured a couple of reviews and I am linking two BPL ones and some threads…


    Tom K
    BPL Member


    Have you tries “cupping” the pole grips.  I have found it eliminates the stress on the thumb joint, among other benefits.

    AK Granola
    BPL Member


    Hand braces. They’re available at the pharmacy, and they work. You can wear them at night, and may not need them during the day.

    BPL Member


    Locale: Western Colorado

    Thanks for the tips folks. Except for the hand braces, I had tried everything mentioned so far. I just picked up a pair of braces and so far, I like them. The ones I bought aren’t comfortable gripping a pole, but for immobilizing my hands at home, and while sleeping, they seem to help.

    BPL Member


    Locale: Puget Sound

    Try drinking Aloe Vera and taking homeopathic Sulphur 30x

    Dale K
    BPL Member


    I feel your pain, literally. Had an injection in my big toe today. Fairly severe arthritis. Besides Motrin, their are other anti inflammatory meds available by prescription that may help. Voltaren gel is no longer a prescription med but over the counter.

    Ryan Jordan


    Locale: Central Rockies

    I have arthritis in my thumbs as well (rock climbing fallout?) and hand braces have been a godsend for me, to the point that I now carry one in my FAK on long trips.

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