End Of My Dream??

Decorating By myheartsdesire Updated 21 Apr 2009 , 4:11am by CakeDiosa

myheartsdesire Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 1:24pm
post #1 of 28

Maybe end of my dream is a bit dramatic but I am about the drama icon_smile.gif . I do have a problem though. My hand hurts really bad when i squeeze the icing out of the bag. I just did a monkey with fill in stars and i did horrible on it, I almost couldn't finish it because it hurt so bad. Is this a strength issue or something else? anyone else have this problem?

27 replies
emrldsky Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 1:57pm
post #2 of 28

What is the consistency of your icing? When doing stars, medium is fine. If it was too stiff, that could cause the pain in your hand.


DianeLM Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 2:27pm
post #3 of 28

I had the same problem several years ago when I did more buttercream than fondant. I even had 'decorator's elbow'! I couldn't grasp anything without excrutiating pain. Made many simple, mundane tasks almost impossible (yet, I still managed to do the laundry...sigh).

So, I saw an orthopedic surgeon who made a brace for my hand/wrist that I was instructed to wear whenever I was not working on cakes. It took the strain off that area and gave it a chance to 'rest'.

That therapy plus making darn sure my buttercream was the absolute softest it could possibly be for the job really made a difference.

I tried those therapy gloves Hobby Lobby sells with minimal success. They just made my hands slippery so I had to hold on even tighter.

I hope you find relief soon!

bakingatthebeach Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 2:33pm
post #4 of 28

You might want to get checked for carpal tunnel if you do alot of repetive hand movements, this would make you at risk for it. Otherwise, yes my hands hurt if Im squeezing for a long period of time. But if it hurts at the beginning of your decorating, you would definitely want to see an orthopod.

myheartsdesire Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 8:53pm
post #5 of 28

Thanks everybody! I dont want to see the doctor! icon_cry.gif I love caking.The dr will make me stop. icon_sad.gif Anyway, I know thats what I need to do. I was just hoping someone would tell me I just need to build up some strength.

cylstrial Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 8:56pm
post #6 of 28

Thin that icing out so it's easier to pipe.

jensenscakes Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 11:50pm
post #7 of 28

I have carpal tunnel in my hands because of cake decorating, but I love to do it so much that I refuse to stop. Sometimes you just have to work through it at a slower pace or take breaks more often when it gets really repetative. I just don't think I could ever give up decorating because it's the one thing I love to do. Just adjust how you do things to ease up the strain, plus the nice hand braces work really well after a long day of decorating.

indydebi Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 1:06am
post #8 of 28

I have "slight" arthritis in my hand. I learned to take the aspirin/Aleve BEFORE I start doing a cake with the cornelli lace or the English Dots (what we call THe Hand Cramp Cake). It helps to take the aspirin ahead of time.

See the doctor. Not sure he can MAKE you stop (and why would you think that? Have you had him check your hand before?) but he may be able to offer suggestions that will help, like the braces mentioned in the above posts.

yh9080 Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 12:07pm
post #9 of 28

I agree with previous posters - take more breaks, take something before starting, check consistency of icing, etc. Most importantly, please see a doctor. He may be able to offer some relief with drugs, brace, or physical therapy.

GeminiRJ Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 12:12pm
post #10 of 28

I did a bunch of cookies once that had a lot of piping. By the time I'd finished, my hand was killing me. It hurt for weeks and weeks. It's fine now, but like you, I wondered if I'd be able to do much decorating anymore. The above posts gave some excellent advice. Definitely check with a doctor as he may give you some answers. No sense living with the pain if you don't have to!

JGMB Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 12:15pm
post #11 of 28

My Wilton instructor said that you should never fill your piping bag more than 1/4 full or it puts too much strain on your hands and wrists.

sweetjan Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 12:21pm
post #12 of 28

What the other said.....thin your icing and put less in your piping bag. Any tendon/ligament combo. in our bodies will inflame with more acute stress than they're used to handling....

solascakes Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 12:23pm
post #13 of 28

The brace might be the way to go,but you still need to see a doctor.Good luck.

whisperingmadcow Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 12:26pm
post #14 of 28

When I was taking my wilton classes, I had alot of pain right along my life line that would last for a couple days, especially when it came to royal icing flowers. Because I am no longer piping so much, it has gone away. (I would take the class, then practic on the weekends)

Do you do alot of cakes?

I also have to agree with everyone else, the consistance of your icing plays a big part in it.

Mindy1975 Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 12:28pm
post #15 of 28

That's why I dont' do character cakes! lol I hate the time they take, and the strain on your hands' isn't worth it. Plus you have to go buy some pan that you'll never use again. And, the customer doesn't want to pay for all that time and detail. I could go on and on about character pans! ( I know, this isn't all about character pans. lol) Plus, if your a legit baker, your not supposed to sell them anyway......So I use the latter reason when a customer calls and wants one.

SUELA Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 12:34pm
post #16 of 28

I wore a rollerblading brace at night (bought for $12 at Walmart) and that did the trick for me. (I have heard some people say you are not supposed to wear one at night.)

Also, only filling your bag half way full will ensure the least amount of pressure you have to exert.

Something else to try? Try decorating with your opposite hand when the pain gets bad.

cakegrandma Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 12:45pm
post #17 of 28

I had carpal tunnel, not from decorating cakes, but it sure hurt when I did cakes. I had the surgery and it was a blessing as that was 4 years ago and my hand does not bother me at all. Don't be afraid to consult a doctor if you need to, however in the mean time, make your icing a little thinner but, thick enough to hold the star shape. Use a 10 or 12 inch bag and don't fill it any fuller than 1/2 full and this goes for any size bag that you use. If you overload your bag then you actually put a strain on your hands and do not have as good control over what you are doing, especially if the icing is stiff. thumbs_up.gif

sweetcravings Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 1:00pm
post #18 of 28

Sounds like this could be just simple tendonitis of the wrist...a way to check is put your hand straight out as if to shake someones' hand, then bring your thumb downwards toward the inside of your palm...major pain??? Tendonitis can cause wicked pain in the hand,and definitley can affect strength. If yes, i would try some NSAIDS like motrin. If the motrin doesn't help go to the doc. and he can order you a stronger anitinflammatory medication. This type of inflammation is often caused by repetitive motions of the hand. I wouldn't panic just yet, it may be something easily remedied. Good luck.


bethola Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 1:01pm
post #19 of 28

SEE A DOCTOR! I agree with indydebi....the doctor can't MAKE you do anything. I have arthritis (I THINK) in both wrists. Going to see the MD about it. IF carpal tunnel then I'll take the appropriate action, whatever that might be. Already wearing the wrist braces at night which help some. Already take Aleve (double dose...PER DOCTOR'S ORDERS) and it does help.

The most important thing is to take care of yourself. I love making cakes too! But, I have found that once you get to MY age (Yes, I'm older than indy! LOL) taking care of yourself is most important!

Beth in KY

thems_my_kids Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 1:04pm
post #20 of 28

My hand hurts whenever I do a lot of stars. Do you have problems any other time?

poohthebear Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 1:19pm
post #21 of 28

Wow, you have received some excellent advise. I agree with all of them, I too have problems with wrists and hands so RA Doc. gave me a brace to wear at night while sleeping. I think it helps along with a good anti-inflam.. I totally agree with Mindy 1975...don't do those character cakes. It's illegal and if you get caught you could be fined $$$$$!
Hang in there though cake decorating is in our blood, no matter how bad the pain you will keep going back to it. Believe me have been there and done that.

sweetcakes Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 2:24pm
post #22 of 28

ive been getting a bit on hand pain too, right at the base of the thumb, but its not from decorating, its from holding the mouse for long periods of time while im on CC !!! cant give this up either. icon_smile.gif

sweetcravings Posted 18 Apr 2009 , 3:25pm
post #23 of 28
Originally Posted by sweetcakes

ive been getting a bit on hand pain too, right at the base of the thumb, but its not from decorating, its from holding the mouse for long periods of time while im on CC !!! cant give this up either. icon_smile.gif


tonimarie Posted 18 Apr 2009 , 6:27pm
post #24 of 28

I used to have a lot of hand pain when I did lots of character pans, but since I almost never do them anymore, I don't have pain icon_wink.gif Is it just doing stars that gives you pain? or all cake decorating? Good luck and go to the doctor if you need to.

Santa_Kitchen Posted 18 Apr 2009 , 8:05pm
post #25 of 28

I am diagnose with Carpal Tunnel in both hands. It was horrible, i said was, because after struggling with the horrible pain, i decide to go into surgery(that i shouldn't had waited so long)in my right hand, the hand that i use the most. OMG, i didn't not know that i was going to regret waiting such a long time just because i was scare and you should know, if you are having the same problem that the pain hurt so bad that you can awake cause of the pain in the night. I try everything...the pain killers, hand braces until the surgery. Recovery was about 3 weeks before I can put my hands in another cake, but at least my right hand did not loose any strengh and my pain days are gone!!!!

myheartsdesire Posted 19 Apr 2009 , 8:13pm
post #26 of 28

I dont do cakes often.
I do know better than doing the character cake, but my sister wanted it for my nephews 1st b-day.
I will go to the Dr.,but you can't make me like iticon_smile.gif.
Its any prolonged piping that makes it hurt by the way.

Santa_Kitchen Posted 20 Apr 2009 , 5:45pm
post #27 of 28

Also doing a lot of typing at the computer, without the proper rest (stretching hands)can cause the pain. tylenol caplets before starting to work in any piping an 2 more if i didn't want to wake up because of the pain before going to sleep and if the pain is too much, use the hand braces during the night, that will prevent the pain at night too!!!!

CakeDiosa Posted 21 Apr 2009 , 4:11am
post #28 of 28

I was in a bad car accident that destroyed my right wrist (along with several other parts of my body). Surgeon wanted to fuse it but I said NO WAY! Went to rehab for a long time. One thing you can do to help relieve your pain is to do an exercise to strengthen your hand while extending your fingers. Most people concentrate on grip strength and ignore extension strength. Put a hair scrunchie or rubberband around all of the fingers on your hand at about the mid-knuckle (hold your hand like a quacking duck or sock puppet and include your thumb) then keep your fingers straight and try to spread them open. You'll feel as weak as a kitten at first but soon your strength will improve. This also helps relieve carpal tunnel pain.

Good luck!

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