What Causes Joint Pain When Sweeping
When I sweep, I tend to grasp the broom very tightly because my Dad taught me to really bear down on the broom to get every speck of dirt on the first pass. As a result, sweeping is very painful for my arthritic hands. Gripping a handle of small diameter with an unyielding wood surface is the epitome of what arthritic hands should not be doing. It combines several causes of hand and finger joint pain: gripping tightly, gripping over a period of time without changing hand position, pressing joints against hard surfaces that don't yield.
Joint Pain Relief Found in the Toy Department
In order to reduce the pain and stress on my joints, I put an Original FunnoodleTM on my broom handle. I just cut the foam cylinder to the length I needed and slid it over the broom handle. Funnoodles are foam flotation devices kids use in swimming pools. The Original Funnoodle (orange in photo) is 5 ft long, 2.5" in diameter, with a .75" diameter hole (the Monster FunnoodleTM is too large, see pink foam in photo). The Funnoodle enlarges the broom handle diameter by a couple of inches, gives it a soft yielding foam surface, and adds texture so that I don't have to grip as hard to keep a hold of it. Even if I start to grip it tightly, there is less stress to my joints because the foam material yields, unlike the solid wooden handle.
I bought the Funnoodles shown in the photos and video in 2004 and they don't yet need to be replaced. I noticed this past summer that there were other brands available for similar toys, but I haven't tried any of those to see if they are the right size. Wise shopping will bring you budget relief as well as joint pain relief. All brands of these toys are seasonal, so that they cost $4 - 5 in late spring, but have been marked down to $1 by the end of summer.
Before I added the Funnoodle, I swept with my left hand toward the top of the broom, right hand toward the bottom. With the Funnoodle, it is more comfortable for me to sweep with my right hand toward the top. Switching your dominant hand is another tactic that helps reduce pain by not overstressing your dominant set of joints.
The Funnoodle also works well when used on my garden rake and would probably be worth trying on a mop as well.
Pain, Pain go away, the foam broom handle is here to stay!