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Davidpotter

How Do You Deal With Injuries?

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I was wondering how other members deal with injuries that interrupt with clay creation?

 

For me I had to have a bone graft on my left scaphoid due to a fracture from high school football. So now at the age of 18 I'm developing arthritis in my left wrist because of this (The doctor said it was a possibility. Better than it still being broken) so now most activities cause pain and if I ignore it the pain just stays for about a week. I've tried icy hot cream but it only does so much. I have noticed that wearing a brace during activities helps but I have yet to find a a slim waterproof one that I can use while I throw/swim.

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Football injury eh?  Lineman?

 

I am lucky to have avoided most, throwing related injuries, in my time working with clay.  Like you mentioned, I do have a little pain in my left wrist, when I do certain actions, but nothing too severe.  

 

You probably not going to like the answer, but the best way to deal with such an injury, is just to take time off, from the activity that causes the pain.  Tendons, ligaments and cartilage all have the same issue, they are avascular.  They don't get a lot of blood flow, which means they take longer to heal.  

A good friend of mine, is a Physical Therapist/ Athletic Trainer.  He has informed me that Icy Hot/ and similar products, don't do much of anything.  They give you the sense that they are helping, but nothing more.

Rest is the answer.  Take some Ibuprofen to help with the inflammation, but beyond that rest.  Once you are healed up, strengthening the area, and doing some stretching, prior to throwing, will be good ways to avoid future problems.  

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I am by no stretch of the imagination a medical professional ... -_- ... but that never stops anyone does it?

 

What I would recommend since you are young and at the start of your career is that you find a way with clay that involves several different kinds of activities rather than just the constant repetitive motions of throwing, trimming etc. Try some handbuilding, or different techniques of decorating ... just some ways to give your wrist a rest from the stress of staying in one horizontal, elevated position.

 

If you can vary your wrist activity several times a day you might get more time before discomfort starts.

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There is a possibility that you could get the brace you want made with a 3-D printer. You would need to find a makerspace or hackerspace that had such a printer, and work with the folks there to scan your wrist and print a useable brace. Google your town name and makerspace and see if anything pops up. Some orthopedic specialists are making 3-D printed casts, so check to see if anyone in your area is doing that. This sounds like the kind of project many makers would be interested it doing, so good luck finding a group near you!

In any case, rest is the only way for these injuries to heal.

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I cannot stress this enough

I to had damaged my scaphoid some time in my youth (Have no idea when)

I had it and the 2 serounding bones remove almost 3 years ago( a PRC) due to arthritis eating the scaphoid  bone up.

So I will say go see a wrist surgeon-thats a specialist who only works on elbows and wrists

Find out what you need to do to not have this bve an issue for you later like it has been for me at a later age.

I cannot stress this enough-this will impact you sooner that later if you have arthritis at age 18

Forget your general doctor get a refferal to the above mentioned specialist as they are the ones who know this area.

Mark

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I cannot stress this enough

I to had damaged my scaphoid some time in my youth (Have no idea when)

I had it and the 2 serounding bones remove almost 3 years ago( a PRC) due to arthritis eating the scaphoid  bone up.

So I will say go see a wrist surgeon-thats a specialist who only works on elbows and wrists

Find out what you need to do to not have this bve an issue for you later like it has been for me at a later age.

I cannot stress this enough-this will impact you sooner that later if you have arthritis at age 18

Forget your general doctor get a refferal to the above mentioned specialist as they are the ones who know this area.

Mark

 

The specialist is the one who told me that I am likely to get arthritis with this because of the screw. Though I think I may consult my general doctor that I just switched back to that has dealt with a lot of football related injuries.

 

Football injury eh?  Lineman?

 

I am lucky to have avoided most, throwing related injuries, in my time working with clay.  Like you mentioned, I do have a little pain in my left wrist, when I do certain actions, but nothing too severe.  

 

You probably not going to like the answer, but the best way to deal with such an injury, is just to take time off, from the activity that causes the pain.  Tendons, ligaments and cartilage all have the same issue, they are avascular.  They don't get a lot of blood flow, which means they take longer to heal.  

A good friend of mine, is a Physical Therapist/ Athletic Trainer.  He has informed me that Icy Hot/ and similar products, don't do much of anything.  They give you the sense that they are helping, but nothing more.

Rest is the answer.  Take some Ibuprofen to help with the inflammation, but beyond that rest.  Once you are healed up, strengthening the area, and doing some stretching, prior to throwing, will be good ways to avoid future problems.  

 

yeah, line was the only place for me, from what I'm reading it sound like you're thinking soon after the injury. My surgery was 2 years ago, though I will try the Ibuprofen and stretching. My mom has issues with her hip where keeping the inflammation down keeps most of the pain away.

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Standing mostly on the sidelines, was the only place for me...

 

The Ibuprofen may help with the swelling, from the arthritis.  The stretching and strengthening can help make it so the surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons, can better deal with the stresses of throwing, and take pressure off the injured area.

 

Worst case scenario, you could get one of these.  They look like they could take a lot of wear:

 

http://media.liveauctiongroup.net/i/5736/8632826_1.jpg?v=8CE70FDFAF1B540

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I'm in total agreement with Chris on this, work around your injury, not against it.  Minimize activities that put stress on the injured areas.  Hand-build, model, slip-cast, etc.  Ibuprofen and exercise can only get you so far, but at the end of the day you're young and you've got years of ceramic work ahead of you.  How is that wrist going to feel at 60?  Prolly not great.

 

A little known fact (or maybe commonly known, depending on who you spend your time with) about Josiah Wedgwood was that he couldn't kick a wheel because he had a bad leg/knee infection due to smallpox early in life, eventually losing the leg.  He's still one of the greatest English-speaking ceramicists in history.  Obviously you can still throw, but who knows, it could force you to grow as an artist, too.

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( How is that wrist going to feel at 60?   not great.)

I'm 61and my wrist is not great-but its been working thru  massive amounts of clay in the past 40 years of production work

As you have a screw in your bone -your system will not be happy over time with that foriegn object

2 years is pretty soon and you are still very young healing wise .

I suggest also working around that pressure.

My wrist is never happy but pain wise its ok.

Just get top notch advise and monitior that bone over time with your surgeon.

I have to baby my wrist for life-you may also need to change your work wrist habits.

Mark

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 Throw with clay as soft as you can get.  Get a pugger mixer and do not wedge any more.      

Try slab, Jigger and cast forming objects.

  That is what I do.           Warm water helps when throwing.   

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No specific injuries, but lots of hand based work and sports, and age related. The PP has kept me going.  And changing around what I do during the day.  I only have 3 balls of ready clay within reach of the wheel.  I have to get up, move around weight out more clay, move finished pots, etc , all day.  I think it really makes a difference at the end of the day.

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Watch leaning on the "Vitamin I" (ibuprofen) use over long term.  Read the label.

 

I ended up with a internal bleed that went from bad to almost passing out from blood loss before the ambulance got to the house.

 

Fine now. (NSAIDS all have that potential issue.)

 

best,

 

..................john

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When are you noticing the pain? When centering? Opening or pulling? Wedging?

 

I've got a plate in one hand from a broken metacarpal, plus wrist issues due to fibromyalgia, so I've been learning my limits and working with them, and saving up for some helpful tools like a Strong Arm centering tool. Right now I only throw about 1.5lb pieces, as anything larger is rough on my hands (they are small, in addition to weak :) )

 

Another option could be to run your wheel clockwise and train your other hand to do the grunt work.

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That could work, then. I run counter-clockwise and my left hand has to hold the firmer positions when centering and pulling. Since he's having problems with the left, a switch could help.

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David,

 

I don't know where you live, but I would find another hand specialist and get a second opinion.  A good HAND physical therapist can make you a molded plastic brace with Velcro straps. The deal is, you shouldn't wear it to throw, it is a crutch.  My son had a hand injury/break.  Saw a hand specialist and hand PT. A good hand PT can show you how to strengthen your hand and wrist.  You may need to slow down for a while you work on this issue.  Think about doing some hand building along with throwing.

 

I have numerous joint/health issues.  These include bad feet/ankles (previous breaks) and bad hip (needs replacement).  I throw with very soft clay.  When I buy new clay I open all the bags and add water, then close back up.  I start with it so soft it is barely wedge-able.  By the time it is wedged, cut, weighed, it is perfect.  Lager forms take longer.  I have to stop in the middle and let the clay firm up some.  I have to get up from the wheel at least every 45 mins, walk, flex, sit back down.  Standing and throwing isn't an option with bad feet.  You learn to pace you activities: Wedge at night, throw in the morning, load the kiln, throw some more, trim, wax feet, glaze, trim some more, weigh and wedge, etc.....  I envy people who can sit and throw for several hours straight. Remember, where there is a will, there is a way.

 

Good luck.

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Also make sure that you are throwing in a good bio-mechanical way.  Get someone who KNOWS what that means to watch you and provide feedback.  I see so many people beating up their bodies without realizing it, it is amazing.

 

best,

 

....................john

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Hi, all.  I'm new to the group and am anxiously looking for input.  Have any of you experienced a scaphoid fracture of the wrist and were you allowed to continue throwing pots while on the mend?  I'd be happy to buy a sacrificial  :P splint and my doctor entertained the idea of letting me do this until I really couldn't quantify the stresses involved.  Have any of you been in similar circumstances and found work-arounds?

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I would not do throwing until its mended. I had my scaphoid removed along with 2 other nearby bones-it took 5 months to get back to thowing.

Let it heal then do your rehab.

mark

I definitely wouldn't do it without the docs O.K. as I know the long term consequences could be horrendous, but he was a bit on the fence as to whether I could throw with the splint on.  That's why I'm checking in with you all.

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You baby that wrist, honey. My stupid rodent butt was a thai boxer from age 15-30, and, to quote my doctor, "Lady, your wrists are hamburger." I have a permanent scapholunate sprain in both wrists, as well as that dang arthritis stuff. Clay is rough on the wrists, and at just shy of 34, I'll tell you, if you don't baby your injury now, in your youth, you'll end up in a world of trouble.

 

Have you talked about maybe getting a prescription for celebrex? I just got my blood drawn to check for rheumatoids in my system, because my feet are angry about life, too...but, maybe I'm just too fat. :D

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ouch no fun. there was another thread recently about what to do about sore hands. I have a prescription topical ansaid gel called Voltarin that helps. paraffin bath or heat mitts help.

 

I have heard that an alkaline diet (as opposed to acidic foods) help avoid inflamation. Don't know if its true but can't hurt.  Of course, red wine and coffee are acidic and I ain't giving them up.   rakuku

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My doctor always says "six to eight weeks, using but not abusing" for injuries to heal.  These were not broken bones however, but sprains, strains and rsi-type injuries.

 

I had a stupid fall on Wednesday this week.  While lying on the floor I thought I'd broken my little finger.  On standing up, the whole side of my hand throbbed and was sore to touch.  On Thursday I did some gentle throwing, which oddly was about the only thing I did all day that didn't make it hurt more.

 

Take all the advice, and feel your own way through all actions, but don't overdo anything.

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I agree with Chris. earn how to work with your body to accomplish your goals. I have seen people center in some interesting ways.

I am getting up there and recently a former fracture in both bones of the forearm at age 11 has been extremely painful at 66.

Also pains in thumbs and index fingers require attention.

 

Marcia

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