Broken hand - any advice?

Take a sledgehammer and wrap an old sweater around it. This is your "shovelglove." Every week day morning, set a timer for 14 minutes. Use the shovelglove to perform shoveling, butter churning, and wood chopping motions until the timer goes off. Stop. Rest on weekends and holidays. Baffled? Intrigued? Charmed? Discuss here.
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captain_trismegistus
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Broken hand - any advice?

Post by captain_trismegistus » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:34 pm

Hello! How is everyone? I can't believe I've been away for so long. And selfishly I've come back because I want something...

So, I've been shugging for goodness knows how long now (a little bit "on & off", but mostly "on") & am still loving it & reaping the benefits. As of last week my routine consisted of three complete runs through of seven reps (to each side) of the ten canonical moves, which was taking me about twelve & a half minutes. I was also two thirds of the way through upgrading from a twelve-pounder to a fourteen-pounder. Then, like an idiot, I broke the little-finger metacarpal of my right hand (not, I hasten to add, anything to do with Shovelglove).

So what I was wanting to know was, has anyone else here had to put Shovelglove on hiatus due to a broken hand/wrist/arm/whatever? If so, how long was it before you were able to get back into it? And how set back were you when you did get back into it?

Because, overall, the broken hand is little more than an inconvenience, but the one thing that I absolutely cannot do & that I am dearly missing already, is shugging!

I hope you're all well,
Tim.

r.jean
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Post by r.jean » Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:32 am

I do not do shovel glove any more, partially due to other habits I developed during injuries. Since starting in 2010, I had hand surgery due to a torn tendon and later a rotator cuff tear in my shoulder. Both set me back for months on doing any kind of weights and shovel glove was out of the question. Both injuries were on the right side and were due to accidents not due to exercise. However, I found that using various weight machines at the gym in creative ways allowed me to strengthen my left side while mildly exercising my hurt side. My left side has maintained better strength and general ability also even though my right side is back to full use. I have just continued to use the gym although the sledge comes in useful occasionally as a tool. :)
The journey is the reward.
Maintenance is progress.

captain_trismegistus
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Post by captain_trismegistus » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:23 pm

Hey, thanks for your reply!

Going to the gym really doesn't appeal to me, which is why Shovelglove has been such a revelation... I'm just not sure whether it would be better to try & exercise my left arm & keep it strong, or to let both my arms get weaker at approximately the same rate so they're of even strength (or weakness!) when I can finally get back to shugging.

I think it'll take about six weeks for the bone to heal & even then I don't think it would be wise to start subjecting it to the kinds of strains that swinging a sledgehammer will inevitably put upon it. Who knows when I'll be able to start shugging again.

That's awful that you had such a spate of bad luck with your hand & arm - I'm glad you managed to get past it though & figure out an exercise routine that worked for you.

Tim.

r.jean
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Post by r.jean » Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:00 pm

Thanks! I always thought the gym was not for me too, but the injuries forced me into it. Both of my injuries required long term gradual recovery so just waiting to heal was not an option. In your case I would probably handle it like you are.

I sympathize with the frustration of waiting to heal. Good luck!
The journey is the reward.
Maintenance is progress.

captain_trismegistus
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Finally back!

Post by captain_trismegistus » Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:35 am

Right, apologies for having taken so long to post a followup regarding my broken hand, but there is a reason I've left it until now... Today I FINALLY shugged at the level I was at before I broke my hand! I did two thirds of my routine using my 14lb hammer & one third using my 12lb hammer in a time of twelve minutes & forty three seconds.

I'm certain I could have got here faster except for the fact that my house just isn't big enough to swing a sledgehammer around indoors, meaning that I have to shug outside in my garden. The one weather condition which absolutely means I cannot do shovelglove is rain, since things become slippery in the rain & swinging a slippery sledgehammer is pretty obviously a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, this being England (moreover England through autumn & winter), for the last several months it seems to have rained more than it hasn't! So progress has definitely been slower than it might have been. But here I am at last.

For the sake of anyone who finds themselves with a similar injury, I'll just give a brief account of my recovery... I spent three weeks with my hand in a thermosetting plastic splint/cast thing which immobilised my wrist & little & ring fingers. I then spent a week with my little & ring fingers buddy taped together, regularly performing physiotherapy exercises in order to regain full range of motion in my fingers (initially on coming out of the split-cast thing I couldn't clench into a fist or fully straighten my little & ring fingers... it was weird - I'd strain as hard as possible, but they just wouldn't move...), then another week without my fingers being buddy taped, still doing the physio exercises & also regularly squeezing a foam rubber ball in order to start regaining grip strength. At that point, five weeks after having broken my hand, I went for a checkup with the physiotherapist, who seemed genuinely surprised at my progress, which was nice. I now had full range of motion back, & my grip strength was, if not fully back to what it had been, at least entirely functional. She advised me not to do any heavy work with my right hand for another three weeks - until eight weeks had passed since I first broke my hand because, although the metacarpal was now healed, the bone density still wasn't quite there yet.

So there we go - eight weeks after breaking my hand I returned to shugging, albeit using only my 12lb hammer, with my hands further apart than they had been & my god was it hard work! But my hand held out just fine - absolutely no problems in terms of the strain beng placed on it by shugging. Then it was just the long, slow, & much rained-off process of getting back to where I had been... which today I finally am! (And the hand is as good as new - has been for ages... just the SLIGHTEST bump on the back of my hand, behind the little finger knuckle when I extend my fingers fully backwards. If you weren't looking for it, I don't think you'd ever notice it's even there.)

So, all in all, I'd advise against breaking your hand - it's seriously inconvenient & it will set your shovelglove back massively... BUT... if you do, don't despair. It's a lengthy process, but you will get back to where you were.

Anyhow, best wishes all, take care,
Tim.

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Post by reinhard » Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:16 pm

Hey, thanks for the update and congratulations on your successful perseverance in working your way back up!

I'm struggling with something much less severe at the moment, but probably the first injury I've had since I started shugging that has actually significantly affected my routine. I've self-diagnosed it as "uppy elbow" (from my three year old) and am treating as golfer's elbow. :-)

Certain shovelglove movements are painful (shoveling and chopping wood) so I'm laying off them for a bit, and I'm (mostly) sticking with low rep counts for the other movements.

So thanks for your inspirational account of patient recovery from something way worse! Very well timed for me.

Reinhard

captain_trismegistus
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Post by captain_trismegistus » Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:52 pm

Hey Reinhard, thanks for the reply & the kind words!

I'm sorry to hear about your uppy elbow - I hope it's not causing you too much discomfort & that it sorts itself out soon, allowing you to return to unaffected shugging :)

Best wishes, take care,
Tim.

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Post by captain_trismegistus » Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:56 pm

Just a small update - yesterday I shugged my full routine using only my 14lb hammer & in 12m 40s, so that's good :)

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Post by oolala53 » Mon Mar 28, 2016 4:44 pm

Congrats on your recovery! In April it will have been a year since you started this thread. Maybe we'll get another update then.
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