hand function

Spring Fever...and Arthritis


THE ENEMY OF GOOD- a guide to hand rehabilitation

I don’t know who was it that said, “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” but whoever it was it’s worth keeping in mind. Including when it comes to hand issues.

Whether it’s in dealing with recovery from an injury or from surgery or arthritis or some other chronic conditions, the prime goal should be reasonably painless functional use. Sure it would be nice to get rid of all the swelling, and sure it would be great to have pretty joints, and wonderful to have absolutely complete motion and unlimited strength. And do everything we would like to do like we always did it. But...don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

In real estate, the saying is “location, location, location.” That’s the priority. That’s the value added. But with hands it’s “function, function, function.” That’s what we want to achieve. And as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

So if we have inflammation and irritation we try to reduce it with simple steps, without medicine if possible and with surgery only as a last resort. If some body part needs to heal, whether a bone or tendon or muscle or ligament, we try to promote healing as naturally as possible. Simple steps if possible.

Our job, as a team of patient and physician, is to support the body’s own natural processes as well as we can. And remember, there is usually a process that has to play out. And processes play out at their own pace. We can support it but not rush it. It’s like turning up the heat on a pie in the oven; you’ll just burn it.

So simple therapies, support the process, and work towards a realistic functional goal. One step at a time. If the results are unacceptable there’s usually a plan B and C, but try to keep the big picture in mind.

So you may not be able to open every jar... maybe you’ll eat something else. And you may not be able to play a full 18 holes without a break or knit a sweater as quickly as you could or....
But remember even if you’re not perfect, you’re damn good!