Pain in the…hands


Hello my lovelies, I just wanted to preface this post by saying I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I have NO MEDICAL TRAINING WHATSOEVER. I am just writing to explain my own experiences and hopefully share some useful tips, helpful hints and point you in the direction of some reliable websites.

So, what I wanted to talk about today is an occurrence that regularly happens to me when coiling my fingers for any length of time around a pot of polish: my joints get stuck! The solution is an awkward stretching of my fingers (accompanied by aches and clicks galore).

Unfortunately I have arthritis (see NHS website for more info: ) It first began with a dull ache at the base of my thumb joint in my late teens. It used to happen mainly during cold, damp periods of weather and was easily cured by wrapping up warm or taking time out to warm my hands under the hot water tap. Sadly time has taken it’s toll (ahem, I’m only in my 20’s) and it’s a downward slope from here. There is no cure but it is a condition that can be managed.

Essie Mint holding bottle

However, arthritis and my favourite hobby of nail art do not make good bedfellows. I find holding my hand still in one position makes my hands become painful. So the technique I was taught at college of holding the polish in the palm of one hand is definitely out of the window these days – a table can hold the bottle just as well (if a little further away for re-dipping).

One piece of kit (yes, I do keep them close to my nail supplies) I’d also recommend is a pair of fingerless gloves. You can remove, buff, file, repaint – all whilst keeping your hands warm! The only real downside is hand cream application (but as covered in my last post, I rarely use it as part of my manicure routine anyway!) I also try not to apply hand cream if my hands are already cold. I’ll wait and warm them first as otherwise the aches once again begin to creep in.

I also avoid immersing my fingers into cold liquids – by that I mean the polish remover that comes with sponge in the bottle that you dip your fingers into. Firstly, I’m not convinced it’s good for your skin to come into contact with chemicals unnecessarily (I know, I know, as a polish-addict I’m one to talk) so if you can get away with a neater removal technique that’s more contained then go for it. Secondly, I cannot prove it scientifically but my fingers definitely feel more crampy after using this type of remover.

hand massage

A few of my older clients have also been afflicted with arthritis and they would often pay a higher price for the luxury manicure purely for the hand and arm massage. By warming and gently manipulating the muscles and joints it can create a release of tension and has an overall soothing effect. You can get creams that warm as you massage, which might also be beneficial, but always talk this through with your client first to see if this suit their needs.

It can be unnerving for those manicurists who haven’t seen severely arthritic hands before – all knotted joints, lumps, bumps and fingers that appear misshapen – but if you take your time and give the hands your full attention, it can be a really rewarding experience for clients.


Finally, and probably most importantly, movement is the answer (to many a question in life I’m sure: health & fitness, job progression, happiness, but especially…) when it comes to arthritis. I often automatically find myself performing little hand exercises to combat stiffness but I have since found this website listing a few different styles of techniques which you can combine to reduce arthritic symptoms:

As I said earlier, I am in no way an expert and I would highly recommend anyone with concerns to go see their GP for specific advice. However, I do hope some people might find this post helpful. It is something I personally struggle with so if anyone else has tips they’ve found helpful I’d love to hear them in the comments below. Are you also an arthritis sufferer? Do you have nail clients with arthritis?



About lushnails

I'm a qualified Nail Technician based in Liverpool. This blog is my way of sharing some of my favourite techniques, products and nail designs. I love all things rainbow-coloured and spangly! Hope you enjoy reading/viewing :)

Posted on March 26, 2014, in Hints and Tips and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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