QueenMo Posted 28 Apr 2010 , 6:07am
post #1 of

I'm sort of reaching out to the CC community here. I'm 23 years old and love the artistry of cake decoration. I've been doing it for a few years, but last year i went to a doctor about some terrible foot and ankle pain i was having. It turns out i have arthritis, and when the doc showed me my x-rays, the bones in my feet looked strange. He basically let me know i wasn't built for standing, and i was really discouraged from doing anything culniary because of the pain. I worked at a hotel kitchen and ended up unable to walk for months without a cane, and when i was at work i could barely stand. I haven't decorated in a year, and i just got back into after a friend from culinary school recommended me to his sister to do her wedding cake.I've recovered a little bit since i started a desk job, but i'm very very eager to get back into culinary arts. I figure i'm not the only one that deals with pain while decorating, so i'd just like to know how other CCers deal with arthritis and things like it while decorating, so feel free to share your stories and advice and tips. Thanks for listening! icon_smile.gif

33 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 28 Apr 2010 , 6:30am
post #2 of

You can do a lot of decorating without being able to stand. I broke my leg last year and still did cakes while I was in a wheelchair. It made it a little more difficult to roll fondant because I had to stand on one leg.

Basically, I think it would be difficult to work in a bakery if you have problems standing, but to do cakes at home as a small business or a serious hobby is still possible. It might be more enjoyable that way too because you'd have more creative license. It would be helpful for you to get a stool that's the right height for working at your kitchen counter, or a nice sturdy table to work at in the kitchen.

madgeowens Posted 28 Apr 2010 , 6:31am
post #3 of

I take a prescription med when needed. When I am piping I have to take breaks when I get pain in my hands. I think thats about all you can do. Being 23 and having this to deal with is really sad. I hope they can come up with something for you soon. God Bless

Caths_Cakes Posted 28 Apr 2010 , 9:46am
post #4 of

i know how you feel Queen, im 21 and have issues with my ankles (weak joints/lack of cartlidge) i stand as long as i can, if i feel any pain coming on, i grab my self a seat and start sitting if you can, get your self a table (or chair ) that your a good height when sitting, i find being a little higher than the bench helps me when rolling fondant and things icon_smile.gif

Occther Posted 28 Apr 2010 , 10:36am
post #5 of

I am surprised that your physician didn't refer you to someone to either make custom orthotics (shoe inserts) or possibly better shoes. It would be worth a try. Although you may still not be able to stand for long periods of time, you need to continue to protect your feet because you will need them for a long time. I think you should look for a good podiatrist or physical therapist in your area who could make the shoe inserts.

Kell0006 Posted 28 Apr 2010 , 10:56am
post #6 of

I take lots of breaks and have a prescription arthritis med. I have SLE Lupus and some days piping just isn't going to happen because I can't squeeze the bag without severe shaking. The arthritis in my feet also gets bad so I have a stool and try to do most work from there. Good luck to figuring out a way to enjoy your passion painlessly as possible!

lomfise Posted 28 Apr 2010 , 11:50am
post #7 of

Hi QueenMo

Sorry to hear about your problems. I can't give you much advise, only what I do myself. I have a bad back and knee, so when I do cakes I try to divide the tasks into shorter periods, like doing the cakes and icing, then a break. Then colour the fondant and make decorations, another break. Then put the cake together.
And of course, always make sure you are in a good working position. Like sit down whenever you can in a chair that matches the heigt of your table.

The pauses in between decorating the cakes don't have to be long, a couple of hours can do it for me.

With cookies (I also have arthritis in my wrist) it's kind of the same. Baking one day and then decorating in several steps over the next few days, this way also prevents my colours from bleeding as the icing dry firmly in between icon_lol.gif

HTH and good luck.

mamawrobin Posted 28 Apr 2010 , 1:45pm
post #8 of

Sorry to hear about your problems. You're so young to be facing such obstacles. I have problems with my right hand all the time. I'd say 50% of the time it's asleep. This sensation drives me crazy. I also have something wrong in the joint of my left thumb. OUCH. Some days I can't even open a bottle of soda. My hands always hurt worse at night. After a busy day I wake up several times during the night with terrible pain.

My kids and husband are always on me about going to the doctor because they hear me when I wake up crying and pacing the floor at night. Seriously, after a busy day they do hurt that bad. Can some of you tell me what kind of prescription meds help with this type of pain. I take tylenol arthritis but they really don't seem to help. I know that I need to see a doctor but I don't have insurance so I don't visit the doctor very often.

Caths_Cakes Posted 28 Apr 2010 , 2:02pm
post #9 of

mama, If your hand feels alseep, it could be a nerve problem, i have carpel tunnel syndrome in my right hand and piping is a nightmare, havent got the strength for it any more, it may be worth getting checked out first, as regular painkillers wont do much for nerve pain

mamawrobin Posted 28 Apr 2010 , 2:10pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caths_Cakes

mama, If your hand feels alseep, it could be a nerve problem, i have carpel tunnel syndrome in my right hand and piping is a nightmare, havent got the strength for it any more, it may be worth getting checked out first, as regular painkillers wont do much for nerve pain




Thanks. I'm going to make a doctors appointment this week. Honestly I don't think I can go on like this much longer. It's starting to wear me down icon_smile.gif . I also play piano at church and it's starting to really interfer with that.

jessielou Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 4:22am

I completely understand how you feel! I am 24 and have fibromyalgia. Doing cakes is very hard on me physically and Im usually completely miserable by the time Im done! (but yet I just keep doing it haha)
I too have a very hard time with piping because of the muscles in my hands cramping and being so shakey. Im still learning what to do to help but it usually takes me awhile to "recover" from doing a cake. Since I work full time I only have time to do cakes at night which means i end up losing ALOT of sleep which apparently is a big no no for anyone with fibromyalgia. I did 2 huge cakes a couple weeks ago. I had a million other things going on that same week plus work....so I only got 6 hours of sleep the whole week! Total! Im pretty sure Ill never recover!! lol My family and friends always get onto to me and say "they just dont understand why I enjoy it" but I love doing cakes! No matter how much pain Im in at the end! lol
I also have prescription pain killers but they dont really seem to help. But my heating pad is my BFF! As others have said, taking breaks definitely helps. Even just 5 mins.
And sitting as much as possible while working. Im actually looking into getting one of those rolling chairs that you can adjust the heighth.
They are a little pricey but would be great! Especially if one of your biggest issues is your feet.

Texas_Rose Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 5:46am
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamawrobin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caths_Cakes

mama, If your hand feels alseep, it could be a nerve problem, i have carpel tunnel syndrome in my right hand and piping is a nightmare, havent got the strength for it any more, it may be worth getting checked out first, as regular painkillers wont do much for nerve pain



Thanks. I'm going to make a doctors appointment this week. Honestly I don't think I can go on like this much longer. It's starting to wear me down icon_smile.gif . I also play piano at church and it's starting to really interfer with that.




The best OTC painkiller for muscle or nerve pain is Aleve. You can get a prescription strength that is double what they sell in the store. I use the regular kind that I can get without a prescription, and when it's really bad I double the dosage (probably not the best thing to do but it works for me). I was on prescription painkillers for months when I broke my leg and I went through withdrawal when I quit taking them...I'm never taking that stuff again.

tron Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 6:16am

I have tendonitis really bad in my wrists (more so in teh right one), and when I do a lot of baking/cooking it cramps really bad. I usually just take a break or if it gets really bad, I take an Excedrin Back & Body.....it helps my hand and back!!! I think I might have to end up going back to the doctor though. I just had a spasm for the first time in my right hand that went up my forearm....really freaked me out!!! But for you you should probably get a special chair and table for decorating.

tonedna Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 6:46am

I have lupus and fibromyalgia. When I started I had a rough time cause i couldn't last but only a few hours of work. My body grew stronger and I learn to ignore the pain to a certain degree. Of course I crash when I get home..But then I feel so proud of what I have accomplished.

Mind over matter..
Edna icon_smile.gif

tesso Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 6:59am
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonedna

I have lupus and fibromyalgia. When I started I had a rough time cause i couldn't last but only a few hours of work. My body grew stronger and I learn to ignore the pain to a certain degree. Of course I crash when I get home..But then I feel so proud of what I have accomplished.

Mind over matter..
Edna icon_smile.gif




My sister had lupus for 18 years , and this year. POOF.. gone !!!! she had the butterfly lupus coudnt be in sun, etc, I am sure you are familiar, her arthritis everything gone !! The doc told her sometimes it just happens, after so long it will get worse or go into complete remissson. (you just cant get a doc to say the word MIRACLE !)

To OP.. I have lymphadema stage 1 in one leg and stage 2 in the other, from shattering my knee cap into 7 pieces years ago. I have a stool that I use when working on cakes in kitchen like making icing, baking etc. , and I do all my detail work at my dining room table, where I sit with my legs proped up on another chair. Take frequent breaks and exercise the muscles to keep from cramping and seizing up. Oh and bow to the MOBIC gods. If you have never tired mobic, I sugguest you talk to doc about getting some. it really helps.

tonedna Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 2:26pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by tesso

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonedna

I have lupus and fibromyalgia. When I started I had a rough time cause i couldn't last but only a few hours of work. My body grew stronger and I learn to ignore the pain to a certain degree. Of course I crash when I get home..But then I feel so proud of what I have accomplished.

Mind over matter..
Edna icon_smile.gif



My sister had lupus for 18 years , and this year. POOF.. gone !!!! she had the butterfly lupus coudnt be in sun, etc, I am sure you are familiar, her arthritis everything gone !! The doc told her sometimes it just happens, after so long it will get worse or go into complete remissson. (you just cant get a doc to say the word MIRACLE !)

To OP.. I have lymphadema stage 1 in one leg and stage 2 in the other, from shattering my knee cap into 7 pieces years ago. I have a stool that I use when working on cakes in kitchen like making icing, baking etc. , and I do all my detail work at my dining room table, where I sit with my legs proped up on another chair. Take frequent breaks and exercise the muscles to keep from cramping and seizing up. Oh and bow to the MOBIC gods. If you have never tired mobic, I sugguest you talk to doc about getting some. it really helps.




Lucky girl!
Edna icon_smile.gif

jessielou Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 4:51pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonedna

I have lupus and fibromyalgia. When I started I had a rough time cause i couldn't last but only a few hours of work. My body grew stronger and I learn to ignore the pain to a certain degree. Of course I crash when I get home..But then I feel so proud of what I have accomplished.

Mind over matter..
Edna icon_smile.gif





Exactly! It may be painful but you just work through it and in the end its worth it! thumbs_up.gif

QueenMo Posted 1 May 2010 , 12:20am

You guys are all so wonderful. We have creaky bones and all sorts of problems and yet we just can't get enough of cake decorating! Lets keep marching on and doing what we love, thanks for all of the inspiration!

icingimages Posted 3 May 2010 , 2:10am

A few thoughts. Hand falling asleep and symptons similar to carpal tunnel - find a great sports message therapist who will concentrate on your neck. That is where the problem is.
Feet problems, find a good podiotrist and a better chiropractor.
Finally, find a great homeopath doctor to help you with your joints.
Make sure you get referrals.

One other thought, SugarVeil sells an icing dispenser. It is great for those who are prone to hand problems

I have a friend who is a sports massage therapist who I saw when my hands were numb with a lot of pain below my elbow. Sure enough, it was in my neck.
Feet problems can stem from your back, a good chiropractor can fix that. Some Chiros work with sports massage therapists making an awesome team as your joints and muscles work together.

There are some great natural medicines that can help your joints. My son was 10 when he was diagnosed with Pediatric Arthritis with Psyrosis. The medical doctors wanted to put him on numerous medicines, some were dangerous. I inadvertantly met a naturopathic homeopathic doctor (never knew there was such a thing) But he really knew his stuff. Received releaf after one dose. I decided to have the doctors work side by side and now the MD is taking him off his dangerous drugs and is totally amazed at the progress he is making. The MD is one of the top 10 in his field and is really scratching his head at the results! Arthritis meds over long term can cause a lot of liver problems and then you end up opening up other problems when you try to fix those. You are young, be very careful and do your research.

ChRiStY_71 Posted 3 May 2010 , 2:28am

Just a word of caution...extended use of anti-inflammatory medications can wreak havoc on your kidneys and liver.

Occther Posted 3 May 2010 , 3:03am

Good for you, Debbie - for offering positive suggestions for dealing with pain and arthritis. Rather than popping more pills!! Everyone seemed to ignore my earlier comments.

mamawrobin Posted 3 May 2010 , 3:10am

Thank you icingimages. Someone else told me the other day that it is my neck giving me these problems. I'm going to make an appointment this week to see a sports massage therapist. I can't wait to see if this will correct my problem. I have neck problems anyway so it really does make sense.

My 17 year old has arthitis in both of his feet. He was born with club feet and has had several surgeries over the years. I need to find him a doctor like you did for your son. I've never heard of that kind of doctor and I'm not certain where I'd find one but I'm going to Google it and do some research. Seems like the older my son gets the harder it is on him. He hasn't been able to play sports in about four years. He isn't on any meds right now because he hates taking anything. But, if we can find something that actually works, I'm sure he will be more than happy to be treated. The last prescription the doctor gave him hurt his stomach so he quit taking it.

mamawrobin Posted 3 May 2010 , 3:13am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Occther

Good for you, Debbie - for offering positive suggestions for dealing with pain and arthritis. Rather than popping more pills!! Everyone seemed to ignore my earlier comments.




I didn't ignore your comments. I hate taking pills. I broke a couple of disks in my back about 23 years ago and before I was healed I became addicted to opiates. I didn't think I'd ever be free from that addiction. Thank God that today I am and I will NEVER take anymore icon_lol.gif I don't even like taking tylenol any more than I have to. Too hard on the liver and kidneys.

etr2002 Posted 3 May 2010 , 3:40am

My right hand and arm absolutely kill me at night and they stay numb and tingly. I end-up sitting up most of the night with my arm propped up on a pillow and tears falling down my cheeks from the pain. This past week I couldn't take it any more (neither could my husband), so I had a nerve test done and like other posters have referred to, I have a pinched nerve. I don't like to take meds but my doctor prescribed a painkiller but I'm not taking it right now due to the rather extensive side effects. I was fitted for a wrist brace and that has seemed to help the last 2 nights. Maybe try a brace (be sure to go to a store that sells medical equipment so you can be fitted).

mamawrobin Posted 3 May 2010 , 3:53am
Quote:
Originally Posted by etr2002

My right hand and arm absolutely kill me at night and they stay numb and tingly. I end-up sitting up most of the night with my arm propped up on a pillow and tears falling down my cheeks from the pain. This past week I couldn't take it any more (neither could my husband), so I had a nerve test done and like other posters have referred to, I have a pinched nerve. I don't like to take meds but my doctor prescribed a painkiller but I'm not taking it right now due to the rather extensive side effects. I was fitted for a wrist brace and that has seemed to help the last 2 nights. Maybe try a brace (be sure to go to a store that sells medical equipment so you can be fitted).




OMG..your symptoms sound just like mine. I totally understand what you're going thru. I actually pace the floor and cry and PRAY. icon_lol.gif It really wears ya down doesn't it?

Eisskween Posted 3 May 2010 , 3:55am

I have arthritis in my hands, back, neck and knees. I just take my time and tylenol alternating with Aleve. You may have to stand while rolling fondant, but is there any way they could get you a "bar stool?" You could sit while decorating. Just a thought, it would take the pressure off your legs. icon_smile.gif

cupcakeenvy Posted 3 May 2010 , 4:05am
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonedna

I have lupus and fibromyalgia. When I started I had a rough time cause i couldn't last but only a few hours of work. My body grew stronger and I learn to ignore the pain to a certain degree. Of course I crash when I get home..But then I feel so proud of what I have accomplished.

Mind over matter..
Edna icon_smile.gif




I also have Lupus and I find that keeping busy is the best remedy. I'll take Advil for inflammation and go on with the day. Some days easier than others as each case of Lupus has different issues. My biggest challenge is circulation in my legs. If I stand too long, all the vessels break from knee to ankle. Painful day to follow but getting up and moving is the best thing.
I always felt that having Lupus has made me a much hard working person as I don't like limitations and I fight to overcome them. Positive attitude and determination are the key....

hollylikescake Posted 3 May 2010 , 4:56am

Sometimes my pinky and ring finger get numb and tingly. Numbness is a nerve thing. Try to pay attention to which fingers, which part of your hand, what side of your wrist or arm, etc, goes numb. Write it all down before you go to the dr. What fingers makes a difference as to where the source is. At least that is what I was told. I go to a sports med dr turned chiropractor. He will do some deep tissue massage on my forearm and on the inside of my elbow, and on my shoulder. Then he tapes up my forearm. It takes maybe two visits to get good results. It usually comes back in maybe 6 months. I do try to be careful about my posture and use a cheap little ace wrist brace - not just for decorating but for housework too.

icingimages Posted 4 May 2010 , 1:08am

The doctor I had found is a Doctor of Naturopathy He is in PA, he is very hard to get a hold of and he is not very technically savey so he takes forever to answer emails. his name is Dr. John Mulliken his website is bestnaturaldoctor.com and though he may not be able to help you, perhaps he can guide you. It was interesting before I met him, they wanted to put my 11 year old on Paxil due to high anxiety. When I met him, he gave him something called bach flower. It is almost like teas, but my son has done a complete 360. I now am just coming off some anxiety meds. It has been a horrible road to come off. My regular medical doctor told me the wrong way to come off of them so I am suffering. But I didnt want to turn back. So I called my Naturopathist who have helped tremendously. It really is amazing what can be done and I personally have seen some remarkable cures. My 11 year old is the most amazing turnaround. I do sympathize with your son, but our regular MD who is out of UVA did tell me that you have to keep joint swelling down in the early years as it tends to do a lot of damage as they get older. With your son, find the best Naturopathist and the best medical doctor and make them work together, even though they come from opposite sides of the spectrum. I let both doctors know what the other is doing and share tests and it is really amazing.

icingimages Posted 4 May 2010 , 12:56pm

One added note, I spoke with Dr. Mulliken today and he thought there was a Herbal Healing Academy out your way. H said the lady who runs it is very good, and you may want to see if you can find her. If you need help, he will be glad to assist you, but dont delay with your sons feet. Time is imperative as he grows to get him releaf and to help him for the future.

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