A hand surrounded by lightening bolts while the two smallest fingers are curled with zigzags lines in them.

Shaking (Curled) Hands With MS

Hands are the part of our body at the end of our arms, attached to our wrists; they include our fingers, palms, and thumbs. Our hands are used for holding, grasping, moving, touching, and feeling things. Without our hands/fingers, our ability to work or perform everyday tasks is greatly reduced. They are one of the greatest parts of our anatomy.

The importance of a "hand" in the English language

The hand is so essential that the word "hand" is not only reserved for the part of the body; there are also figurative uses for it. For example, when we say that something is "in a person's hands," it means that they are taking care of it. When you want someone to help you, you can say you "need a hand," and on the other hand, if you want to help someone, you can "give them a hand." It can also apply to parts of a clock, where the components resemble outstretched fingers called the "hands of a clock." And I'd be remiss to neglect the fingers that can be used to point or identify, the thumb used to indicate a positive or negative gesture by turning it up or down respectively, and the palm which derives its name from its resemblance of the fan-shaped leaves on a beautiful palm tree which can be used to conceal with the hand.

The loss of the use of my hands

I say all of the above to emphasize the importance of having hands and how one might feel, no pun intended, without the use of their hands. And how cruel it is to rob someone of such an essential part of their anatomy. Yes, anything that has the potential to change your 'normal' to anything far from normal - financial stability due to job loss, happiness resulting from the loss of someone special, wellness because of illness, your freedom and comfort due to a pandemic or catastrophe, fulfillment due to a breakup or divorce for instance - is sad, frustrating and unsettling. As time goes on, I've been reflecting. I've easily determined that to have the loss of the function and dexterity of my hands is cruel and would definitely have to be charged to theft by a real MonSter.

Coping with curled hands

The (curled) hand MS has dealt me has made it so that the smallest tasks, like picking up my cell phone or even a fork, is a feat. This goes hand in hand with my inability to point a finger, much less uncurl and spread my fingers to depict those leaves spread on a tree or the act of gesturing with my thumb. I'm pretty much accustomed now to ask for a hand to avoid drops and preserve energy because it can be so exasperating and tiring trying to make my hands 'work'. But, hey, I give myself a hand because asking for a helping handhasn't always been easy for me. My preference was to handle things myself. Hands down, one word to describe curled hands: YUCK.

What are curled hands or a "claw hand"?

Virtually all symptoms of MS are a result of the damage MS does to the brain, nerves, and spinal cord. Curled hands are just one of the symptoms I suffer from relative to MS. Curled hands is a condition in which my fingers are noticeably curved or bent. This condition can affect one or more of your fingers, on one or both hands. Physical therapists often recommend splinting to straighten the fingers in addition to flexing and exercising the hand to strengthen its weakened muscles. Exercising is also an activity meant to avoid muscle atrophy progression and diminished tendon reflexes.

MS symptoms can be a handful

What can I say? Adversity of any kind can be a handful. On one hand, honestly speaking, I am quite bummed due to my curled hands. On the other hand, like I often say, I'm just going to concentrate on doing what I can while I can and not doing too much anxious harping on what may come. With that said, someone lend me a hand getting these splints on and bring on the therapy before things get out of hand. And, MS, you've not won. Let's have a handshake to the struggle.

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