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View Full Version : Carpel Tunnel in your shooting hand. How do you manage it?


Barbicatter
September 7, 2010, 09:17 AM
Few years back my mother had Carpel Tunnel Surgery on her right hand. The surgery helped but she still has symptoms: numbness, weakness, or pain in the fingers and hand.

Recently she has purchased herself a Ruger LCR .38 spl with crimson trace grips for home defense. We went to the range to practice, after 30 rounds the light little revolver started to take its toll on my mom's wrist. It's not so much recoil but the short barrel seems to make it snappy (muzzle flip?). The upper ward action is what causes the issue.

Any of you shooter's coping with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome? Do you have any bracing suggestions that don't interfere with your grip on the gun? Any tips that might help?

BODAME
September 7, 2010, 09:40 AM
I shoot with a couple of guys who have adapted to shooting with a wrist brace. (Pistol,Rifle & Shotgun)
I Shoot with a Over 60 Crowd and most of us have the problem.
We shoot most weekends in USPSA, IDPA & Multi Gun with
ample supplies of Advil , Motrin & Celebrex .

mete
September 7, 2010, 12:38 PM
Vitamin B6 has been successfully used to reduce swelling .This was documented back in the 1960s ! If that doesn't work an operation will .It's a simple operation to slit the tube [carpal tunnel] .

pax
September 7, 2010, 12:53 PM
Lightweight, compact revolvers such as the LCR really don't work well for people who are recoil-sensitive. It's just about that simple. Move to a heavier gun, mabye even a semi auto which naturally absorbs recoil better than a revolver does. Since the gun is for home defense rather than concealed carry, it only makes sense to move up to a more friendly gun for her.

If she's absolutely wedded to the LCR, encourage her to practice with her non-dominant hand as well as her dominant one. That should lengthen her practice times and help her maintain proficiency.

Unfortunately, the CT grips on the LCR -- although they are absolutely marvelous for work in the dark or in indoors lighting conditions -- do very little to absorb recoil. Perhaps she might want to consider moving to the Hogue grips, although that does sacrifice easy sighting in low light.

Encourage her to do lots of dry fire and just a little live fire, by the way. That way she can build & maintain proficiency without hurting herself. Make sure her dryfire shots are as perfect as she can make them, with excellent sight picture, smooth trigger press, and complete follow through. Tell her she'll be tempted to be lazy in dry fire, because she doesn't get the immediate feedback of the shot placement, but the value of dry fire really only happens when people don't get lazy. Note that the CT laser works really really well for reinforcing good habits in dryfire.

When my own Carpal Tunnel flares up, I practice a lot of left-hand shooting. Needs to be done anyway, but it functions as a good reminder. Plus if I ever need the surgery, I'll be well prepared to cope during the healing period afterward.

Hope it helps.

pax

BarryLee
September 7, 2010, 12:59 PM
I think the idea of using a wrist brace for practice might be a good one.

Also, I wonder if she might rethink her choice of firearms. You mentioned that this was for home defense, so a steel framed .38 with a six or seven inch barrel would probably work well. The gun would be a little more accurate and have less “snap”.

oneounceload
September 7, 2010, 03:37 PM
Recently she has purchased herself a Ruger LCR .38 spl with crimson trace grips for home defense. We went to the range to practice, after 30 rounds the light little revolver started to take its toll on my mom's wrist. It's not so much recoil but the short barrel seems to make it snappy (muzzle flip?). The upper ward action is what causes the issue.

Is there a reason she needed to shoot 30 rounds at once? How many attackers are you envisioning coming through her door? Try getting her a 22 revolver with an equal trigger pull - have her shoot one cylinder, maybe two of her HD stuff and shoot the 22 for trigger control practice

Jo6pak
September 7, 2010, 06:39 PM
Accupuncture

Standing Wolf
September 7, 2010, 09:12 PM
I take aspirin before I leave for the range, more when I return home. No, that doesn't do the trick, but shooting a lot more .22 long rifle than center fire calibers helps.

CarbineCaleb
September 7, 2010, 09:39 PM
I am with pax that a medium sized gun will make shooting a lot gentler. Have her try something like a 3-inch Smith & Wesson Model 64. It's not a big revolver by any means, but is about 2.5x the weight and 50% bigger than the LCR and should be much more shootable for her.

When the round goes off, there is an explosion, and the less gun that is available to absorb the reaction the more that your hand and wrist have to absorb. Let a bigger gun take the punishment for her.

Specifically on muzzle flip, by the way, the most important place to have the mass, is out in front of the gun, furthest from the pivot point. That means a longer and thicker barrel are especially good things to reduce flip.

Barbicatter
September 8, 2010, 09:58 AM
The reality is this not a range gun, it is a personal defense gun. She probably only shoot it enough to proficient with it. As her daughter I want to be as comfortable as possible while she is doing it.

The dry fire exercises, wearing a brace during practice, and switching dominant hands are excellent ideas and are easy to implement.

mrt949
September 11, 2010, 08:27 AM
Went down that road a few years ago .Had both hands done.With in a short span did a lit of DRY FIRING with SNAP CAPS with CT LASER GRIPS . Still have the numdness but that'spart of getting older :(

10-96
September 11, 2010, 04:27 PM
It sounds a little goofy and may make your Mom look like Rambo to some, but for my bad wrist/hand/arthritis days I like to use a pair of those fingerless wheelchair gloves. They're actually short open fingers and they have palm padding. They can be picked up at most pharmacies a whole lot cheaper than "shooting" gloves. The ones I have have a mesh type material back side which keeps them cool, and for some reason, the velcro tab that tightens around the wrist feels good when it's tightened up pretty tight. I dunno, maybe it's like those orthopedic straps people used to wear about 2 or 3 inches below the elbow for tennis players and such. But anyway, it helps to extend my shooting times on those bad days.

vytoland
September 11, 2010, 09:31 PM
have your mom rent a S&W K frame or equivilate 4 inch barrel revolver at the range and load it with .38 special 148 gr double end wadcuuters @ 750 - 800fps. if she is comfortable with this set up....it may be the answer.

she should also start practicing using either hand.for SD this necessary with or without C.T.

ClydeFrog
September 12, 2010, 01:15 AM
About 10mo ago, I started to develop a lot of pain in my shooting/strong hand. I had problems bending my index finger and noticed I had trouble with my other fingers. It started to clear up after a few months on it's own but I considered buying a single action 9mm 1911a1 or SIG Sauer SAO for duty use/concealed carry. A Taurus Protector .357 or S&W 638/49 with a shrouded hammer could have worked ok also.
I think it was Pacmeyr(check spelling) who makes S&W J frame grips that cover the hammer area.
A smaller caliber may be needed too if she can't fire & hit center mass. A .32 or .22lr that she can use is better than a .357magnum or .38spl she misses with at 20 or 30 feet, ;).

FairWarning
September 12, 2010, 08:42 PM
Depending on your situation, some kind of hobby that exercises your hands/wrists can help condition you or simply targeted work outs when you're not shooting and once you've gotten over any major CT episodes with oversight from your doctor. The key to working your body is, of course, moderation and common sense. Moderate weight dumbell wrist curls or squeezing grippers a little at first, then increasing, will condition your muscles.

Besides working out, I also play guitar (sometimes quite fast :D ) and get lots of targeting training of my hands and wrists. After doing both of those activities for many years, shooting my mere .357 Mag is a cake walk.

8shot357
September 13, 2010, 02:38 AM
Sorry to come in late, without reading all the post's, is it recoil, or pulling the trigger the problem?

Because I think both can easily be remedied.

If it's recoil, go to a gun with less recoil. If it's the trigger, get a lighter SA trigger.

Is it me, or is that just to easy?

ClydeFrog
September 13, 2010, 02:52 AM
I'd add that your mom's plan to use a Crimsontrace lasergrip is a good idea. More gun owners or CWP holders with illness or injury issues should plan to use lasers or white lights.
If she can work a semi auto pistol and fire it safely, she may want to check out the new Walther .22LR with the factory built in laser, ;). .22LR isn't the best caliber for protection but the light recoil, ease of reloading and laser-sight could work better than a .38spl or .357magnum that she can't practice with.

Barbicatter
September 13, 2010, 10:37 AM
for my bad wrist/hand/arthritis days I like to use a pair of those fingerless wheelchair gloves. I will ckeck some of these out.

have your mom rent a S&W K frame or equivilate 4 inch barrel revolver at the range and load it with .38 special 148 gr double end wadcuuters @ 750 - 800fps. if she is comfortable with this set up....it may be the answer.

Unfortunately not rentals in the area. However I did work up target load for her 158gr SWC, @ 700-750fps. Hopefully these will be a little softer than the factory ammo.

I'd add that your mom's plan to use a Crimsontrace lasergrip is a good idea. More gun owners or CWP holders with illness or injury issues should plan to use lasers or white lights.
If she can work a semi auto pistol and fire it safely, she may want to check out the new Walther .22LR with the factory built in laser, . .22LR isn't the best caliber for protection but the light recoil, ease of reloading and laser-sight could work better than a .38spl or .357magnum that she can't practice with.

It's so much recoil as the muzzle flip. The angle it flips her wrist back is what hurts. She is no stranger to firearms and it's been 15 + years since she has fired a pistol. A little discomfort will not scare away from using a firearm. I believe she can correct this with practicing a better grip, a little strength training, and softer loads.

Nice little .22LR Plinker would be a fun range toy though. Maybe Christmas.

Stevie-Ray
September 13, 2010, 07:07 PM
Weightlifting gloves work for me, when I get a flare. I use the type that have the strap of velcro that circles around your wrist as tight as you want. Made by Harbinger, they are about 20 bucks a pair. I need them for working out, as doing dips with added weight caused my CTS, and my neurologist told me I must keep my wrists as straight as possible. Dips and straight wrists don't belong in the same sentence, so I found these helped immensely. So then I started useing them in shooting, only for the heavy kickers, and thus far, they are stellar in their ability to ward off the pain of CTS.

WESHOOT2
September 15, 2010, 08:09 AM
I've had two surgeries on the left wrist, one on the right, and two on the right elbow. Things tingle, ache, or hurt all the time.

I shoot crappier.

Jo6pak
September 15, 2010, 10:26 AM
I'll say it again in case you guys missed it before

Accupunture.
I know, I was skeptical too. But when I had reoccuring issues with tendonitous in my left arm and MDs just wanted to drug or cut me, and chiropractors didn't help either, I needed another option. I was convinced by a co-worker to give accupunture a try. I figured for $50, it was worth a try. I went in last winter and found immediate relief. When the arm starting acting up about a month ago, I went back in.
Heck for $100 a year, and no drugs or surgery, no pain or numbness. I'm sold.

woodguru
September 15, 2010, 04:21 PM
Ditto on that B6, I had pretty severe carpal tunnel and whipped it with B6. I had heard it would help with something like 80% of cases.

You also have to just plain respect and avoid the kinds of motions and tasks that are hardest on the wrist and hands. A wrist brace helps a lot. Also the motion of shooting double action as opposed to a semi auto or cock the hammer and shoot single action, that trigger finger motion is a killer for carpal tunnel.

The person who mentioned accupuncture has me sold on trying it when I get the next little flareup from something I'm doing. I am a woodworker by hobby and some refinishing tasks are hard on CT.

BigJimP
September 15, 2010, 05:44 PM
I've tried acupuncture ....and it didn't work ....and I'll admit I was a skeptic and wasn't expecting it to work ..( but I went because my wife asked me to consider it ) .......for hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder issues ( carpel tunnel, arthritis, old surgery on nerves in elbow ..and now a rebuilt shoulder ...

The only solutions I have...:

1. gloves might help ( I wear a pair of rain golf gloves on bad days - Foot Joy - they sell them in pairs ) and you can still pick up a dime with them. Golf stores all have them. They sell leather and micro-fibre / go with the micro-fibre versions.

2. shoot a heavier gun and lighter loads - an extra 8oz in the gun will reduce the recoil at least 10 % ... A K frame S&W with some Hogue rubber grips on it / will be heavier ...and the grips will help a little too.

3. shoot a semi-auto / like a 1911 ...with 115 gr 9mm loads / and slow them down a little ... ( the action of the gun absorbs some of the recoil ) ...

4. like others said / shoot a .22 a little more .... Sigs and 1911's all have conversion kits these days ...