In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, Modern Management of the Older Adult division leader Dustin Jones covers some good accessories to have on hand (ha) when working with older adults. Links to these accessories and TONS of other equipment ideas are in our NEW Ultimate #Geri Equipment eBook. Download now by clicking HERE.
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What’s up crew? This is Dustin Jones. You are listening to the PT on Ice daily show brought to you by the Institute of Clinical Excellence. I’m one of the lead faculty within the older adult division. Today we are going to be talking about accessories for grip in hand issues. We do not want a sore hand, sore grip, sore wrist be the limitation of us being able to achieve higher intensities, right? This is a very common thing that we run into, right? When you are working in that old not weak mindset and philosophy that you are trying to put higher intensity loads on individuals, right? You’re gonna run into bears, and we’re gonna talk about how we can overcome these with different accessories and different strategies, all right? The first one I wanna speak to is a very important intervention that we will do very often in the realm of geriatrics, and that is weight bearing, floor transfers, think ground mobility, right? The ability to have confidence and independence in a floor transfer just has huge implications for folks in so many areas of life that it really reduces their fear, their fear of falling, and ultimately improves their confidence in what they can do. The walk across the room, if they fall, becomes a little bit less scary. And just think of the implications of that, right? But when we often go to do those transfers, when we go to bear weight on the ground, that can be kind of troublesome for the wrist in particular. but we don’t want that to be the reason we don’t do this type of intervention or transfer.
WEIGHT BEARING: THE SURFACE
So if we’re bearing weight, one thing I want you to think about is the surface. If we’re going to and from the ground or maybe a higher level like a bed or a therapy table, think about the The surface in the sense of, you know, you probably want a little bit of cushion, a little bit of softness is great, but if you have too much, that can actually be troublesome for folks. It may feel great on their knees, but it’s not gonna feel great on their wrists for most individuals. If it’s too soft, what ends up happening is when we go to bare weight, our palms really press down, we end up going into wrist hyperextension, which for a lot of folks is not a comfortable situation. So when we think about surface, when we’re going to do floor-based activities, ground mobility, Soft, but firm. Soft, but firm. You don’t want a super soft, cushy surface. Soft, but firm is going to be better, provide a little bit of cushion for the knees and a little bit better for the upper extremities and the wrists, for example.
WEIGHT BEARING: CHANGE TE HAND
Next thing you want to think about is maybe if we don’t go open hands, maybe we go fists. That’ll be a little bit easier. We could also think about using the forearms as well. And so that’s the first trouble area, very common trouble area for a lot of folks. We can work around that. We could also use an accessory as well. This is the first one I want to bring out. This is basically going to be show and tell, all right? So for those that are listening, for those that are watching, I’m gonna share where you can get links to all of these things at the end of the episode, but if you’re listening, I’ll be sure to kind of describe these as well, so you’ll get just as much out of it as the folks that are watching. So weight-bearing, floor-based activities, think about the strategies, think about the surface.
WEIGHT BEARING: THE WRIST WRAP
Also think about compression using something like this, a wrist wrap, a wrist wrap. Basically, a little elastic loop that you put your thumb through and then a lovely you know kind of elastic strap that you wrap around your wrist and applies compression and that can often allow people to bear a little bit more weight through their hands also typically allows them to to hold a little bit more weight particularly with something like a overhead press for example makes it a little bit easier on folks so wrist wraps our wrist wraps can be helpful in in the situation of a floor-based transfer all right so that’s The first thing I wanted to mention out the bat, now I’m going to be talking about some different accessories that are focused more on working around hand grip issues, alright?
So, the first one, and I cannot believe I’m going to say this, because this is an accessory that I often have maybe made fun of, never thought I would ever recommend, or even wear at some point, and that is workout gloves. I said, I never thought I would say this, but workout gloves, yes. The ones with the fingers cut out and the padding, you know, you see them, right? You see them all over the place. A lot of our folks here at Stronger Life will wear them, and I was very critical of this initially, and then once I checked my bias and just dug in a little bit of why people actually like these, particularly for folks that may have arthritis, that may have a painful grip, With that workout glove, it obviously reduces friction so you don’t get blisters and all that stuff. Whatever, right? I don’t care about that. But what’s really cool about these workout gloves is when you wrap that hand around that barbell, that dumbbell, that kettlebell, that padding basically increases the circumference of the grip and if you’ve ever worked with anyone that has you know that kind of arthritic pain just grip issues that the wider the circumference of the grip up to a certain point the more comfortable they’re going to be. It can be very painful to kind of lock down on a barbell or a dumbbell or a kettlebell, but when you increase that circumference of the grip, even by a little bit with that padding, it makes it a lot more tolerable. And so we found a lot of folks really respond well to using workout gloves for that manner. Never thought I would say that, but I’m going to go ahead and recommend them now. So workout gloves is going to be the first one that can be helpful if we do see a grip kind of limitation or pain.
Next one, weight lifting straps. All right, lifting straps. So this is basically a glorified piece of nylon that’s stitched so it has a loop and you basically wrap that strap around your wrist and then you wrap it around either the barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell. Traditionally you see it with the barbell, but I’ve used it with dumbbells and kettlebells with a lot of folks and they’ve responded really well. And it basically That strap helps support your grip strength so you can lift a lot more weight and it distributes that load more across the wrist and so you’re able to hold more weight and it’s usually a little more tolerable if folks do have painful, you know, painful grips while they’re loading heavily. The only drawback with this one, particularly with the folks that I work with, we’re talking geriatrics, I typically have to assist them in setting this up. It can be kind of clumsy to get a really good grip, a good purchase with that loop on the weight, and so I’m usually helping them out. If you’re in home health or you don’t have a weightlifting strap, you can kind of rig this up with something like a gait belt. Wrap that gait belt around the wrist, loop it around the weight and hold on on top of that and you’ve functionally created a lifting strap. So gait belts work. The only downside to that one is the thickness or the width of the gait belt is pretty big which can cut into the wrist a little bit and you’re going to have a ton of extra slack or extra gait belt to manage, but it gets the job done. If you’re having to help that person in any way, it’s not too big of a deal. All right, so we mentioned workout gloves. Can’t believe I said that. We mentioned workout or lifting straps.
The next thing is going to be a lifting hook, a lifting hook. So what this is, is basically a Velcro strap around your wrist, and that has sewn into it a metal hook. So this is really helpful, particularly for folks that have painful grips, but also very weak grips that you can still load them up in a heavy manner, do a heavy deadlift with someone, even if they can’t hold on to the bar. It is convenient for barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells. Also helpful if someone’s had a stroke, for example, where they have one side of weakness and their grip is not up to par, but they can still handle some weight using kind of the rest of their body. So a lifting hook. This is really convenient. And all of these things are very affordable as well. Like we’re talking, you know, south of $20 that you’ll be able to find. And I’ll show those links at the end. So lifting hooks. All right.
WRIST WRAPS REVISITED
And I also want to mention here, the wrist wraps again, because I find them helpful with weight bearing activities, but then also with anything where you’re holding the weight particularly in like a front rack position or overhead where you’re going to press particularly for folks when they are new to handling heavier loads and they’re really pushing those higher intensities there’s that adaptation period and all y’all probably felt this too right when you started to press heavy overhead or work on that clean or a lot of folks will feel when they start to work on handstand or inverted gymnastic movements, the compression can help. We don’t want to use it as a crutch, we want to build tolerance in that joint, but it can help early on. All right, so those are some accessories that I’ve found very, very helpful in working with older adults. Now let’s talk about what we can think about if we just need to take the whole upper extremity off the table in the sense of we don’t even want to load the upper extremity at all, right? Because let’s say I have someone with a right-sided stroke and they have a weak grip and so I’m going to use this lifting hook. Well, what if they don’t have great right shoulder stability, right? That’s not going to be great if I’m going to do something like a loaded carry for example, and they’re not able to maintain that shoulder stability and could potentially, you know, sublux for example. So how can we distribute the weight just taking the upper extremity off the table?
THE ALDRIDGE ARM
So the first one I want to mention, it’s a really cool piece of equipment, is the Adaptive Single Arm Lifting Attachment. And so what this is, it is a popularizer created by Logan Aldridge who is He has upper extremity amputation. He’s now a Peloton coach, but he’s really well known in the CrossFit space, definitely in the adaptive athlete space. And he’s thrown around some super heavy weight, particularly barbell deadlift with the single arm lifting attachment. It basically hooks on one side of the barbell, goes up over your shoulder, and then hooks up on the other side of the barbell. And so the upper extremity is taken out of the equation. You’re still able to load very, very heavy. Next up, kind of a similar philosophy, and that is a purse carry. So this is something that I learned from Alex Germano, faculty within the Older Adult Division, and that’s basically taking, kettlebells are great for this, where you basically take that kettlebell, gait belts are useful, you loop that gait belt through the kettlebell handle, and then you just put that weight on like a purse, one side or cross body, and you’re basically getting load through the trunk and you can do lots of movements, carries are great for this, but you’re not asking hardly anything of the upper extremity. Gate belt, I typically use gate belts for this one. So that’s the purse carry. We talked about the adaptive single arm lifting attachment, the purse carry.
Next, think weighted vest. How can we wear the weight not using the upper extremity? Weighted vests are a great option. Backpacks, loading them up with cans of beans if you’re in home health, great option to wear the weight to remove the upper extremity. Belt squats is another great example where we have a belt Around our waist and that is that belt is attached to some form of resistance You can get some real fancy pieces of equipment You could use the gait belt again wrap the gait belt around the waist and then loop That the gait belt through the handle of like a kettlebell for example and get a similar stimulus but you’re basically loading up the pelvis and the legs and and able to achieve a higher intensity, particularly for the lower extremities, without bothering the upper extremity at all. And then think about some different pieces of equipment outside the barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, but think about like the rower, for example. Cardio piece of equipment that we still want to maintain that cardio fitness, you can get a single arm rowing attachment. So you are not having to use that upper extremity that’s limited and you can use the other one. So there’s lots of options. I think the big thing from this is that we don’t want to let that sore grip, hand, wrist be the limiting factor in being able to apply heavy loads to folks. We can work around these issues so folks can achieve those higher intensities and get the results that we know they deserve.
THE ULTIMATE GERI EQUIPMENT E-BOOK
All right, so I’ve mentioned a bunch of stuff. I showed a bunch of stuff. You can get links to all of these things in one place. Last week, the MMOA division, we released our new e-book, the Ultimate Geri Equipment e-book. In that e-book, you will see links for all of these accessories, but also all kinds of ideas for other pieces of equipment that you would want in your clinic or gym if you’re going to be working with older adults. This is basically, if we had a blank slate, what would we want in our spot? And the whole team contributed. We organized that list by what’s fundamental and what’s optional, but then also by benefit, strength, endurance, balance, and mobility. All right, so you can get that ebook for free. It’s a free download. It’s in the Humpday Hustle email that just went out. So it’s the first link on there or you can go to ptonice.com and then click on free resources And you will find that at the bottom of that page Tons of good stuff on there. So check out that resource lots of good stuff Just to mention those links are not affiliate links or anything. We don’t get any kickbacks for any of that stuff We just want to share helpful information and basically our wish list right of what we think is cool And hopefully you’ll find some good ideas in there as well. All right, so check out that ebook. Don’t let those grip or hand issues be a limiting factor in the progress of your patients.
And before we go, just real quick, want to mention our CERT MMOA courses, our level one online, level two, and then our live courses. All three of those culminate into the CERT. Level one just sold out. Our next cohort is going to be March 13th. Level two starts tomorrow. There’s some seats left there. Our next cohort will be around May or June. and then three live courses I wanna bring your attention to. We’re gonna be across the country all year, so we’re gonna be close to you at some point, but three in particular that are coming up pretty quick. January 20th and 21st will be in Greenville, South Carolina, and then Clearwater, Florida, and then on January 27th and 28th, we will be in Kearney, Missouri. We’d love to see y’all in the row. We’d love to see y’all in the online cohorts and pursue that CERT-MMOA. All right, appreciate y’all. Have a lovely Wednesday. Grab that e-book. I’ll see y’all soon.
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