November 30, 2014

Finger Exercises

When I grasped thin objects like a zipper tab my thumb and index finger used to bend ferociously.  Trapping the zipper tab against my thumbnail made the zipper tab slide out of my hand.  After analyzing the muscle imbalance in my hand, my OT gave me exercises.  Caution: Bad practice can strengthen muscles that are already too strong. The photos below illustrate the kind of individualized exercise program an OT can create for you.  



The 1st exercise is touching my thumb to my index finger.  The vibrator stimulates the weak muscles at the base of my thumb that were not working (see black arrow).   





The 2nd exercise is straightening my fingers against a rubber band.  Initially my middle finger straightened more than my index finger (see arrow on left). 

 


To correct this muscle imbalance my OT added a 3rd exercise. Tendon stroking is pressing firmly along the tendon from my wrist to the 1st knuckle.  For me this sensory input stimulates both index finger and thumb extension.  

November 6, 2014

Walking in Snow with a Cane

Bottom Line: I am not ready to go to an assisted living facility were the center's van will take me to Wal-Mart once a week.

The photo on the left shows the Briggs Ice Cane/Crutch Attachment.  I bought it at a medical supply store near my home.  The advantage of buying it in a store instead of on-line is the saleswoman got out a screwdriver and fastened the device to my cane.  It stays out of my way in the up position until I put it down.(photo below). 
I place the cane in my hemiplegic (paralyzed) hand which holds the cane still while my sound hand pushes the device down until I hear it snap into position.

The device makes my cane slightly heavier which slows me down.  I use another cane during warm weather rather than take this device off and try to get it back in the same place each winter.





Warning #1: I do NOT poke my cane through the snow.  I wait until after a neighbor I pay shovels my walkway and digs out my car.  I must be able to see the ground to tell if there is an icy patch that could make the spikes slip.  Checking the ground for ice slows me down, but it gets me to my car safely so I can drive. 

Warning # 2: People who plow store parking lots do not always do a good job of removing ice from handicapped parking spots.  Before I get out of my car I open the door and look at the ground to see if I want to leave the device down or push it up out of my way.