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Rich Toshney
01-07-2010, 06:50 PM
Good evening all,

A quick question concerning Aikido and the possibility of training with joint problems.

I have previously studied Tae Kwon Do but had a dabble so to speak with Aikido a few years back, taking a dozen or so lessons.

I have early onset osteoarthritis in my right wrist which causes me some minor problems and discomfort.

As an example, my wrist causes significant pain and discomfort when flexed with weight on it such as when doing a press up.

I would dearly love to train as my appetite has been whetted, however I'm mildly concerned due to the understandably high emphahsis on wrist techniques and flexibility.

Is there anyone who partakes in aikido who has arthritis or anyone who has any useful advice to offer.

Thanks in advance,
Rich

robbyed
01-07-2010, 09:03 PM
hi i have limited mobility in my left wrist and it is hard to do a kote gaeshi with that hand but you learn how to compensate with either using your other hand or body movement. it is sometimes frustrating but if you explain your problem to your sensei he or she will help you learn how to exicute whatever techniques are giving you problems.

Janet Rosen
01-07-2010, 10:55 PM
I have a blown//repaired/arthritic knee so I cannot kneel, but I manage to find other ways to train. I have osteoarthritis in the bases of both thumbs, so my partners can't do "proper" aikido grips for some techniques on me (they apply kotegaishe to my forearm, it works fine if its done right). Between the arthritis and a couple of nonfunctioning finger extensor tendons, I have a very weak grip, but can do grabbing attacks by making a good "sticky palm" connection center to center.
I've trained w/ folks who are blind (2 of em) folks who are deaf (ditto) and a fellow who lacked arms. I know of at least one wheelchair-bound person training.
Important thing is to feel that your teacher and sr. students understand and accept your limits - some of which may not become immediately apparent - and are willing to work w/ you on finding alternative ways to make it work for you.

ninjaqutie
01-07-2010, 11:59 PM
I imagine you would be okay. Just be up front about your situation. A good instructor should be willing to work with that. Does taping your wrist or wearing a wrist brace help you at all? If it does, I would consider taping/wrapping it before class for extra support.

jss
01-08-2010, 01:38 AM
Does taping your wrist or wearing a wrist brace help you at all? If it does, I would consider taping/wrapping it before class for extra support.
Even if it does not help: use tape or a wrist brace. It's the best way to communicate to your training partners that they should be careful with that wrist.

Rich Toshney
01-08-2010, 03:30 AM
Thanks folks for the positive replies and advice.

I've never used taping or wrist supports before, but I'll sure give it ago.

Rich

lbb
01-08-2010, 09:44 AM
Hi Richard,

I started aikido with a historical wrist injury from karate, and it hasn't really caused problems...but I had taken a couple of steps to address it before I started aikido.

One of these was taping, including taping when not training. When I first got the injury (which I guess I'd call an inversion sprain? for aikido folks, it was kinda like a sankyo gone really wrong), it slowly improved over the course of about five weeks. Then it stopped improving and continued to be present as a nagging, low-level pain that was present during normal daily activities and that would flare up when the wrist was stressed. Finally I started taping the wrist with standard 1" athletic tape every day when I got up in the morning. I left the tape on all day, regardless of how it felt, regardless of activity. I did that for about three weeks, until I hadn't been feeling any symptoms for about a week, and then stopped taping -- problem solved. My thinking is that the wrist needed the support and protection, because without it the injury was being aggravated by daily activities and prevented from complete healing. As far as how to tape it, I used the book "Athletic Taping and Bracing" by David Perrin (http://www.amazon.com/Athletic-Taping-Bracing-David-Perrin/dp/0873225023), which I've found to be invaluable in understanding and treating various types of injuries.

The other thing I did was aikido hand stretches, which I actually learned quite a few years ago when I was studying jodo. My sensei also had a dan ranking in aikido, and he taught us the ikkyo/nikkyo/kotegaeshi stretches (although I never knew what they were called until years later when I studied aikido). They were immediately of obvious benefit for jodo, and I found myself also doing them during the course of the work day, when I'd be doing a lot of typing. I think that over the years, these stretches (which also strengthen) have really helped with my "hand health). Note, though, that like any other exercise, these are not a "more is better" thing (in number of reps, forcefulness or range of motion), especially with an old injury. I think, though, that when used properly, these exercises can enhance your awareness of the current state of your injury, and that in turn can help you make wise choices about how far you push it.

Anyway, long story short, I didn't find that my old wrist injury caused me any problems when I started aikido, but I had already done some things to remedy it, which you might want to think about too. I second what Joep says: tape it to support and protect it, and also to let your partners know that you have an injury.

Janet Rosen
01-08-2010, 10:56 AM
Anyway, long story short, I didn't find that my old wrist injury caused me any problems when I started aikido, but I had already done some things to remedy it, which you might want to think about too. I second what Joep says: tape it to support and protect it, and also to let your partners know that you have an injury.

Mary, I think you know this but I want to clarify that its really important to realize that coming to aikido with a chronic disorder is very different than having previously healed an acute injury. You can't "remedy" osteoarthritis before proceeding with your life.

I agree that taping - IF PROPERLY DONE- can be very helpful. I found a very good resource for the how-to of taping to be the book The Bare Essentials Guide for Martial Arts Injury Prevention and Care, by Trish Bare Grounds - it looks like used copies are available pretty cheaply on the net.

I prefer taping to OTC splints because very often the one-size-fits-all splint compresses where the individual with arthritis doesn't want compression (due to a bone spur, joint enlargement, or subluxation) or limits movement in an area or a direction where in fact movement would be beneficial.

Basia Halliop
01-08-2010, 12:42 PM
I agree about discussing it with the Sensei. They know the technical style as well as training atmosphere in the dojo better so can help you figure out if it's going to be a big problem or something easily worked around.

I don't have any chronic problems but from my experience with my own and other people's injuries -- if you are worried about other people twisting your hand a little too hard or things like that -- it seems to help to make it visible in some way. I agree that even if you don't find a brace or taping useful, wearing something loosely on it (or even a piece of brightly coloured tape on your sleeve) seems to work well as a quick visible reminder to people that there's something going on with your hand they need to be careful of.

It doesn't replace actual discussion but it's a quick reminder. Also everyone will always forget which hand it is.

Rich Toshney
01-14-2010, 01:52 AM
Many thanks to all for your help,

Had my first training session a couple of days ago, mentioned my wrist to the Sensei and he was very supportive.

He made sure I warmed my wrist up properly, ensured training partners were suitably aware and all in all it was a very positive experience.

I havn't had a chance to obtain a wrist support/strapping however I'll be getting one as soon as possible.

Thanks,
Rich

lbb
01-14-2010, 08:10 AM
I havn't had a chance to obtain a wrist support/strapping however I'll be getting one as soon as possible.

Shop carefully. Most OTC braces are garbage and don't really help. That's why I prefer tape.

C. David Henderson
01-14-2010, 08:58 AM
Even if it does not help: use tape or a wrist brace. It's the best way to communicate to your training partners that they should be careful with that wrist.

I agree with this advice, but a word of caution: Sometimes a taped wrist seems to attract some people -- usually less experienced-- unconsciously. I used tape for over a month on a wrist injury this fall. It became something of a running joke with Sensei, as he saw me reminding my partners in the midst of a technique that, in fact, the wrist they were about to start cranking was the one with all that tape on it.

I tell them about the time I did that and got punched in the face.

So, I'd say tape, but be ready to remind people it's there for a reason (as gently as possible, of course).

cdh

lbb
01-14-2010, 10:17 AM
We use a strip of red tape to signal an injury that needs to be treated with caution. You know what? About half the time, it doesn't work, even when coupled with a verbal reminder. "Hey, could you go easy on this wrist?" (pointing to tape) "Oh sure! Sorry!" *CRANK* Some people are just space shots.

tarik
01-14-2010, 07:02 PM
We use a strip of red tape to signal an injury that needs to be treated with caution. You know what? About half the time, it doesn't work, even when coupled with a verbal reminder. "Hey, could you go easy on this wrist?" (pointing to tape) "Oh sure! Sorry!" *CRANK* Some people are just space shots.

I used to use the red tape approach, but I also experienced lots of people who seemed to almost WANT to hurt the taped body part.

I've also noticed that there are a lot of people that just have no idea of HOW to take care of someone while practicing with them and still achieve the desired affect. It's either a yank and crank of the injured joint or else they leave it alone and abuse some other body part in a totally unnecessary fashion.

This is part and parcel of training without understanding principle, of course, but I simply stopped wearing any 'red' tape years ago and just take care of myself with my ukemi or my words as appropriate.

Regular support tape can help provide necessary support, but as Janet noted, it has to be 'installed' correctly.

Regards,

Janet Rosen
01-15-2010, 12:10 AM
I simply stopped wearing any 'red' tape years ago and just take care of myself with my ukemi or my words as appropriate.,

Same here.

C. David Henderson
01-15-2010, 04:02 PM
I've also noticed that there are a lot of people that just have no idea of HOW to take care of someone while practicing with them and still achieve the desired affect. It's either a yank and crank of the injured joint or else they leave it alone and abuse some other body part in a totally unnecessary fashion.

This is part and parcel of training without understanding principle, of course, but I simply stopped wearing any 'red' tape years ago and just take care of myself with my ukemi or my words as appropriate.

Regards,

An important idea, IMO. For example, some folks seem forever to be trying to pull off kote gaeshi without taking uke's balance or center, just cranking the wrist.

With a healthy uke, worse than ineffective; with an injured partner, annoying to no end (or worse).

Regards.

Janet Rosen
01-15-2010, 07:56 PM
Yep. Anybody who is partnered w/ me for kotegaishe has to do it using good unbalancing via connecting to my forearm since I have a tendency to shriek loudly and involuntarily when the base of my thumb is compressed :-)