Being someone who already suffers from a debilitating form of arthritis, and spends most days and nights tap dancing on a keyboard, I’m amazed that I haven’t developed some form of RSI (repetitive strain injury), the catch-all term for the cumulative chronic “micro-injuries” associated with repetitive movements and work fatigue. I don’t have chronic RSI, but I do get intense wrist pain sometimes, associated with my arthritis, and occasionally, little shooting nerve pains (which always make me wonder if RSI has finally befallen me). But for the last 14 years I’ve employed a faithful tool in helping me avoid debilitating aches and pains in my hands: Handeze Therapeutic Support Gloves.
In 1997, I was at a medical supply store and saw a pair of Handeze Gloves. I was in the process of writing two books, launching a website, and writing for Mondo 2000,Wired, and several men’s magazines. So I was doing A LOT of the ol’ tippy-tappy. My hands were in enough pain that I bought the gloves even though I was convinced they were a gimmick and wouldn’t likely help me much. I was wrong. I instantly became sold on them and have never been without a pair since. I can’t imagine how many pairs I’ve been through.
Handeze are made of something called Med-A-Likra® (just a branding of Lykra/Spandex, I suspect), a tightly-woven, stretchy synthetic material that forms tightly around your hand and especially your wrists. The fingerless gloves have thin material over the main part of your hand and much thicker/tighter material on the wrist. They provide very comforting wrist support and “massage” your hands as you work. They also generate heat, especially on your wrists, which allegedly helps in promoting blood flow and in reducing tissue trauma. They’ve definitely made a difference in how my hands feel after a long day of keyboarding. My home office gets fairly cold in the winter, so the gloves also have the added benefit of keeping my hands warmer in a chilly room.
The Handeze gloves come in beige, black, and blue-black two-tone. They’re available in most medical and office supply stores, pharmacies, and even craft stores (quilters like them). They usually sell for around $18 a pair. I usually go through a pair a year. One drawback is that the fabric on the hand is very thin and can easily tear between the fingers. That’s usually what causes me to spring for a new pair.
Getting the sizing right is very important. You can use this guide to find your size. Note that, when you first get them (if sized properly), they’ll seem too small and tight for the first day or so, but they’ll stretch a little for a proper, firm fit.
If you use these gloves, or some other type of hand/wrist support that you find useful, please post up in the comments.