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Sunday, July 19, 2015

My Knuckle Knickers: A Wrap Hack

I have had rheumatoid arthritis (RA) since I was 15 years old.  Biologics such as Enbrel tank my white blood cell counts, so I am stuck with prednisone, plaquenil, leflunomide and rituxan to manage my disease. RA and cancer together are a difficult combination of illnesses to balance. All things considered I feel fortunate because my physicians communicate well amongst each other to discuss options that keep my pain and swelling at a minimum.

I want to share a recent “hack” with you that thrills me.  Introducing “Knuckle Knickers” (ha!). This wrap is simply and exclusively used to provide comfort and it comes from me to you, as a patient.  It in no way replaces any prescription for a thermoplastic or neoprene hand support recommended by your doctor or therapist.

I get too much pain wearing hard splints, even if the splint is lined.  I don’t want to wear neoprene gloves all day.  Sigh.  So this is what I created for myself.  Maybe you will find this useful.

Our MCP (metacarpal-phalangeal) joints suffer greatly due to RA disease.  They get very weak and swell easily with minimal use. Everyday use of our hands can cause permanent damage.

I have searched high and low for something to protect my MCP joints exclusively with no luck. Kudos to the makers of that soft colorful shelf liner material.  I love this stuff.  It can repel water and is easy to replace when this strap wears down.  For example I will wear this when unloading the dishwasher, unloading groceries, doing household projects or even while driving.

Here are some photos of how I am using this soft rubbery shelf lining to gently support my MCP joints.  All I did was cut a 1” strip of material and place it gently around my knuckles.   I layer it twice around without increasing pressure on my knuckles.

Do NOT stretch the material or tighten it around your MCP joints.  Simply spread fingers as much as possible while gently wrapping the material around your knuckles.  This wrap will rest securely in place once either tucked in or secured with a clasp, as seen in the photo. I like it because it is soft and feels good.  

Do NOT squish the MCP joints together when applying wrap. Wear as needed. Think of this as simply an extra layer of skin. The material breathes, can be cleaned and is pliable.

This soft material protects the MCP surface from extreme pain in case I accidentally knock the back of my hand into anything, like a door frame.  Ouch! Seriously, tapping my knuckles on anything hurts quite a bit.  I can don and doff this very easily. I know that for some people with RA it can be painful to put gloves on so this kind of wrap is very gentle and easy to complete.
Having RA requires us to re-think how we use our hands.  We need to avoid using our hands in a way that encourages movement in a damaging direction. That is all grand and good and definitely worth learning.  It takes at least 30 days to change a habit, so be patient.   

*Glassware should be held with the palms of both hands.  I did not have a tripod when taking the photo below  ;-).  My Knuckle Knickers helps me grip the glass surface, easing the pressure on my joints if I am not using my palms exclusively.

Always check with your physician to get their approval as well.

Please link here for information on how to help your hands:

Peace and Blessings,


Simple shelf liner

1" wide

Do not squish, this is just like another layer of skin.

Takes a little pressure off the joints.  

Use two hands to lift cups and glasses.

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