Thumbsavers – A handy tool for your kit
One of our most recent product discoveries here at ChiroHub came as a result of our searching for products that would help Chiropractors who do a lot of soft tissue work. We have heard a lot of complaints from doctors that utilize A.R.T., Nimmo, Positional Release, Cross-Fiber friction, or other soft tissue techniques that their hands get a lot of wear and tear. The biggest complaint seems to be the increased stress on the proximal joints of the thumb. Despite helpful tips by Technique instructors, some practitioners continue to suffer from pain in this region.
This type of pain is what motivated Greg Polins of PolTech Inc. to invent the Thumbsavers tool. After several prototypes, Greg currently produces a small device that can slip over your thumb to add reinforced stability to the joint complex. The units are made of a semi-flexible polyethylene (free of latex and chloride), which proved to be very durable in our testing. They have small holes near the end that allow venting and help reduce perspiration buildup inside. After testing this product with various hands and on various patients, we have developed our own product review for the Thumbsavers device.
The first question must be asked, “Does it do what it is supposed to?” We could clearly feel a difference in the structural stability provided to the thumb while wearing it. However, it does not completely eliminate the compressive force exerted on your most proximal joint (carpo-metacarpal in the case of the thumb). Incidentally, we found it just as useful for other digits of the hand. The only thing to keep in mind here is that you will likely need a different sized Thumbsaver for your thumb than any of your fingers. There are clear measuring instructions for sizing on the product’s website. Another option is to wear the unit on both thumbs at the same time. This application seems more appropriate in massage, than a targeted myofascial release.
There are also other considerations when evaluating your purchasing decision. At the front of many minds might be cost. Let us assure you that PolTech has these priced very fairly. You can currently get two Thumbsavers for $25. That is less than the cost of a chiropractic extremity adjustment to your first digit (Chiropractic Handshake), so we think it is quite a deal.
Another major consideration is comfort. This is a fairly subjective criterion, so the ultimate decision should be up to you. We felt like the units fit comfortably, without any odd bumps or protuberances. However, we did have a couple patients say that they preferred the feel of a real hand on them. This may be remedied by using a lubricating lotion, or by simply honoring that patient’s request. There is rarely one solution that works for everyone, and so the artistic battle of healing with Chiropractic goes.
Our only real gripe would be an obvious one – you will sacrifice some of the tactile proprioception that your bare hands offer. A simple problem often has an easy solution, and such is the case here. You will quickly learn to palpate using your uncovered fingers, while performing the actual myofascial work with the finger that is aided by the Thumbsaver product.
Bottom Line: For very little money, Thumbsavers are a simple solution to help reduce the stress on the joints of your hand while doing myofascial work. Some patients may not prefer the feel, but they are in the minority, and the Thumbsavers can easily be stored in your pocket for use on other patients. If you do a lot of soft tissue work, this is a tool you will want in your kit.