Product review: wrist assured gloves (Wags)

This past summer, I noticed thumb pain during my yoga practice and while gardening (my other job).  Even with good alignment, poses like up-dog and wheel were starting to get painful.  Being a type-A leaning human, my first instinct was to maintain status quo and see if it cleared up on its own.  Being a yoga teacher, I knew better than to ignore it.  It is one thing to have discomfort in your practice and another thing entirely to have actual pain. Discomfort is a warning to proceed mindfully while pain is a bright red stop sign.

Optimism in hand, I went to see an orthopedic hand specialist.  I was sure he would tell me about a minor inflammation that would resolve with rest.  Boy was I wrong!  At 44, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my thumbs…early onset, no direct cause, perhaps hereditary.  Gasp! Those words were swirling in my head when he said: “Your days of doing this (gesturing a plank pose) are over.” The swirling thoughts  were drowned out by my stubborn inner child, who immediately threw a psychic temper tantrum.  My inner child is a force to be reckoned with.  She possesses all the tenaciousness and iron will of a 2 year old and does not like to be told what to do (my boyfriend can attest to this).

I needed a work-around and was sent to an occupational therapist.  She molded a plastic hand splint designed to take pressure off the thumb joint during weight bearing activity.  While it provided relief, it chafed and cracked in half after 2 weeks. After that, I experimented with a few home-grown solutions – building on what I had learned from the specialists.  One attempt involved a non-skid yoga glove stuffed with a yoga block wedge. These approximated the plastic splint, but were clumsy.

WAGS gloveAfter an intensive internet search, I found Wrist Assured™ Gloves from Joint Protection Products.  They have two styles. This review is of the WAGS Pro model.  While designed to support wrists, these gloves have a thick stable pad that elevates the palm and takes pressure off the metacarpophalangeal joints (where the fingers meet the palm).  This elevation is just enough to alleviate the bone-on-bone joint ‘crunching’ characteristic of arthritis.  At the same time, they do not hinder my yoga.

There was a short adjustment period for me. I practice Ashtanga yoga, where props are used sparingly. Emotionally, wearing gloves felt a little odd and I was a bit self-conscious. Physically, having the heel of my hand higher that the fingers made it feel like I was projecting forward in arm balances.  I adapted by putting more emphasis on pressing fingertips into the earth (as one might do in handstand).  This small modification restored that balance.

More importantly, the real balance that I found was in being able to continue practicing regularly and pain-free in a manner aligned with my doctor’s advice.

5 thoughts on “Product review: wrist assured gloves (Wags)

  1. Paula

    Thank you for the wonderful account! Most of us have a difficult time listening to ourselves and taking time to heal. That’s where we hope WAGs will have an impact – allowing people to continue their practice after realizing they have an injury or other limitation (after doctor’s clearance, of course!). And had to laugh at the account of your inner 2-year old – I think we all have one hiding within!

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  2. Pingback: Love is in the Air! | Wrist Assured Gloves

  3. Megan

    I am having tremendous pain in my right wrist and thumb when doing wheel. So frustrating! I very much hope this product is the answer. Thanks to this article, I am canceling the scheduled Dr apt next week, as I am sure he will only inject it, and I may really damage it.
    Here’s hoping the gloves do it!

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  4. Kristi

    Wow, very similar story here – I am 41 and my grandmother had arthritic hands, so it was not shocking when I was diagnosed with thumb arthritis today, but it was still not expected. I will look into these gloves, as planks and down dogs are really bothering me these days, but I can’t imagine giving them up!

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