Help! : Hand Arthritis and Practice, How Do You Handle This?

This is a discussion on Help! : Hand Arthritis and Practice, How Do You Handle This? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; For about 9 mos I've had some pretty severe arthritis that seemed to start overnight. It didn't according to the Docs but pre-dated my shooting ...

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Thread: Help! : Hand Arthritis and Practice, How Do You Handle This?

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    Ex Member Array detective's Avatar
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    Help! : Hand Arthritis and Practice, How Do You Handle This?

    For about 9 mos I've had some pretty severe arthritis that seemed to start overnight. It didn't according to the Docs but pre-dated my shooting years - about 6 yrs. I was a late-comer. Just that that joint got a minor injury at the range and joint swelled up good, and as they said "The cat was then out of the bag". I just didn't notice it before.

    Both hands have arthritis at the same joint: where thumb connects to wrist, the rt hand (my shooting hand) has very, very bad arthritis I was told and now looks a bit deformed in that area, the left hand, same place, is better but bone on bone, no cartilage left. The Docs said it is often these joints that get arthritis, especially if you use your hands a lot; the way the human hand works you have 4 digits on one side and one (thumb) on the other - so that One is used a LOT over the years. They also said arthritis in that joint is often pretty extensive before the pain begins.

    So, many oldsters and some not-so-oldsters have arthritic or other hand issues. How do you handle range-time? I go less and shoot less and use lower caliber guns. This allows me to shoot with no pain or pain afterwards instead of crippling myself. I always check carefully too for gun position so it doesn't angle towards that joint by stretching my thumb and fingers wide and checking the gun axis. I want an imaginary like going to the RIGHT of that joint, which would be exactly it if the gun is centered equidistant from each side of the "V" formed by my out-stretched thumb and forefinger. Then I don't have recoil right on the joint. Easy to screw that up though, especially in live draw and fire - gotta keep that right arm and hand pushed left to get the centered hand-grip before you draw.

    So, I do those things - I also get cortisone shots - but I'm less practiced now than I used to be and I wondered what others do to with hand problems, arthritis etc to keep shooting and not make their hands worse, and still shoot regularly at the range?


    Thanks for any help.

    (I am 65 by the way)
    Last edited by detective; September 3rd, 2013 at 01:08 AM.

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    VIP Member Array Kennydale's Avatar
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    Check out The Old Gun Hand

    I am 63 and just started shooting a handgun. Though my first choice of firearm is the Ruger SR40C, I am wondering if the near future holds these type of problems. I too might have to switch to a softer caliber, and possibly a lighter firearm. And though right now i seem fine doing what i am doing. I am thinking of adding a Ruger LCR in .357 magnum, but carry it in .38+P when the time comes that my .40 caliber becomes too much to handle.
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    I have the same issue in my right hand except I'm considerably older than you are. I shoot only 9mm or .38 special at the range, with an occasional few self defense bullets to stay familiar with the additional recoil they produce. I never shoot featherweight guns because they don't absorb any of the recoil. (And I don't like them anyway)

    I also wear PAST padded shooting gloves, without which I could not shoot even a relatively short course of fire without pain. The finger tips are cut out and the padding is only in the "crotch" of the hand where my problem is located. I have one single glove for right hand and also a pair which I bought after they discontinued selling the single glove. I get them from Midway.

    PAST Professional Shooting Gloves Fingerless Leather

    If the gloves don't help and/or your problem gets worse you can switch to shooting .22's. The bullseye group at our range won't forgive me for saying this, but I feel .22's aren't "real" shooting, but what the heck, it's better than not shooting at all. You would still need to practice from time to time with your personal carry gun, but dry firing can go a long way to help you do that.

    Hope these ideas are helpful in some way.
    Getting old was not on my list of "things to do" in the Golden Years!

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    .22s
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    .22s
    He's not telling the truth, in fact he's much older than 22!
    Matthew 10:33

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    Senior Member Array cn262's Avatar
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    I've had some osteoarthritis in my hands for the past 5-6 years (supposedly due in large part to boxing and weightlifting as a teen). I've found that with simple OTC meds, routine but simple hand / grip exercises (see link below for the round blue rubber thing I use), and slight modifications to how I do things (e.g., grabbing the slide with the palm of my hand instead of fingertips). These are things that have helped me be able to shoot long days and hundreds of rounds per day (although my hands are sore at the end of a day).

    Trial and error is a good approach. Cortisone injections can help, but you are limited to the number that you can get per year. A Rheumatologist might have other ideas as well - exercise, therapy, and prescription meds.

    Black Diamond Forearm Trainer at REI.com
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    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    So, many oldsters and some not-so-oldsters have arthritic or other hand issues. How do you handle range-time?
    I really don't have the kind of problem you have but when I shoot my featherweight J Frame S&W at the range I sometimes use an old weightlifting glove that can be tightened up at the wrist. You might find some relief with something like that, or even an ace bandage wrap.
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    Senior Member Array Happypuppy's Avatar
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    I made some concessions to age eyes not as good, joint pain etc.
    .22 at the range and some 9mm. No macho 500 s&w , 10mm even 40 s&w is a no fun.
    Aspirin or whatever you take for pain before.
    Hot waters soaks when cold. Cold weather causes the most discomfort

    I only carry 9mm. If you don't practice with it I don't carry it.
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    Senior Member Array Haywood's Avatar
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    I save the hot 357 mag for the 4" steal guns. I never shot 38 Spl very much but have started to shoot it more. I don't have extream pain just uncomfortable and aggravating. In my LCR I shoot a mid range 357 round that is not bad for 100 rounds. After that I switch guns or go to 38+P.

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    VIP Member Array high pockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShooterGranny View Post
    I have the same issue in my right hand except I'm considerably older than you are. I shoot only 9mm or .38 special at the range, with an occasional few self defense bullets to stay familiar with the additional recoil they produce. I never shoot featherweight guns because they don't absorb any of the recoil. (And I don't like them anyway)

    I also wear PAST padded shooting gloves, without which I could not shoot even a relatively short course of fire without pain. The finger tips are cut out and the padding is only in the "crotch" of the hand where my problem is located. I have one single glove for right hand and also a pair which I bought after they discontinued selling the single glove. I get them from Midway.

    PAST Professional Shooting Gloves Fingerless Leather

    If the gloves don't help and/or your problem gets worse you can switch to shooting .22's. The bullseye group at our range won't forgive me for saying this, but I feel .22's aren't "real" shooting, but what the heck, it's better than not shooting at all. You would still need to practice from time to time with your personal carry gun, but dry firing can go a long way to help you do that.

    Hope these ideas are helpful in some way.
    1) I agree wholeheartedly about the glove.

    2) Get the pair of gloves and start learning to shoot with either hand, that will lessen the impact to just one hand.

    3) Get some "lighter" loads for your EDC. Sub-sonic, like they use with suppressors would be a good idea.

    4) Exercise your hands as much as you can bear. Once you stop moving the fingers, they will stop moving on their own.

    I hope it works out for you.
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    Distinguished Member Array GunGeezer's Avatar
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    I've suffered with osteoarthritis for over 20 yrs. All of my joints are affected to some degree but thankfully not necessarily at the same time. The pain comes and goes and moves from place to place depending on temp., humidity, amount of physical exertion and a variety of other variables, some of which I have yet to pin- point. In the last 5 yrs. I've had both hips replaced which has really helped a lot. My hands, feet and shoulders are the most troublesome. These are some of the things that seem to help:
    Whenever I am going to shoot, fish or work with my hands, I soak them in the hottest water I can stand prior to performing the task. Chair Yoga once a week or more has helped physically and mentally. 250 mg. dose of Celebrex taken after supper every other day, suggested by my Cardiologist, helps a lot. Shoe inserts made by Orthopedic Dr. are soft yet stiff enough to nearly immobilize joint movement of the big toes relieve the foot pain very effectively. I try to ride about 10 miles a day on my Trek Comfort Bike, weather permitting, keeps the moving parts moving. I just turned 70 and am living proof that hard work is not good for you.
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    VIP Member Array Smitty901's Avatar
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    Revolver .38 with normal loads will do nicely and Celebrex

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    severe arthritis

    I suffer from severe arthritis for many years and my fingers are pretty deformed and very painful. I cannot tolerate any of the biologic meds and have been limited to NSAIDS for years without much help, and have many issues while shooting. I have been wearing gloves to try to stabilize my grip with little help. My doctor recently has me taking steroids because of the severity of the arthritis throughout my body, with great results. To combat the weakness that has developed over time, I have been using Gripmaster to exercise my fingers and hands. This little exerciser is amazing (I use the light resistance model). If you can tolerate exercise, even with some NSAIDS or something, this will definitely improve your shooting. If your doctor recommends it, it will help you from getting weaker hands. The steroid meds are what reduced the pain, but the exercise which is now possible has improved my shooting.
    Also, I have tried many different gloves from HomeDepot, and at $10 each, they're cheap enough to try a few different styles. I shoot all basic calibers with some improvement lately including .40s&w and .45acp.
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    VIP Member Array high pockets's Avatar
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    NYHawk - Welcome to the forum!
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    When googling Amazon for fingerless shooting gloves like Shootergranny was talking about I also found some by Blackhawk that was $23 - $49.
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    Matthew 10:33

    But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.


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