I did 3 dozen cookies today, (and cakes on Friday, Saturday and Sunday), and now my fingers are killing me! I had to literally pry them open off the pastry bag! Am I just getting old, or was I holding the bag wrong? A little of both?
I'm not really sure. I know that when I do a lot of stars, my hands really hurt too. I think it's mainly b/c of the hands not being used to being in such a position for that much time.
Hi, you know that there is a three star tip all in one, which is great if you are doing lots of stars, especially if you are doing animated characters. You still have to use the single star tip to get in the smaller areas, but at least it can cut down on time when doing large characters. Just want to make sure that you line your stars up when using the trio star tip. The triple tip #2010 by Wilton's. Maybe taking breaks between set of layers just to give fingers and hands a rest might be a way of not feeling as fatigue and less strain on hand and fingers.
My boss has RA and decorates cakes all the time. Her little trick is to only hold a small handfull at the bottom of the bag. I know you have to keep refilling the little bit but it works for her all the time.
Had the same problem a couple of years ago. I knew I had carpal tunnel syndrome but it had gotten worse. I, too, had to pry my fingers from around the bag. Do your fingers go numb at times or when you first wake up and have you ever been diagnosed with CTS? I had surgery on both hands and that fixed it. I still have some numbness in my middle fingers but not bad compared to what I felt before.
I find that using the Featherweight bags instead of disposable made a big difference and also, go with the smaller bags, the 8 or 10 inch maximum and only fill about one third. I had to stop using the disposables because the plastic was very hard on my hands and fingers. Thinning your icing when you can makes a big difference. For most things except roses, you can use a fairly thin consistency, much easier on your hands. Use rubber bands to keep the icing in the bag, you will use less pressure holding the bag in place. Get yourself a foam type ball, the kind you can squeeze and it returns to its original shape? When you watch television or read, just keep squeezing the ball to improve your finger strength, lifting hand weights will help too. The problem too is we go from doing nothing to overdoing it. I get tendonitis in my finger joints so I can really relate.
Take more breaks and space out your decorating. Space out your baking, making icing too. For some of us, decorating and baking and making icing works out better over a few days. Some of us bake and freeze so we are not using our hands constantly over short periods of time.
Thank you for the wonderful advice! I am definitely going to try your helpful hints. I think filling the bags less will definitely help (my hands are small), along with taking breaks. I love decorating and don't want to get sidelined because my hands hurt. Thanks!
My hands go numb all the time... at night and at the computer mostly. Too many years as a pro decorator has really done me in. Sports creme can help relieve it.
Also, you can fill your bag as you normally do, but separate the icing in the middle of the bag with a twist. You will be squeezing a small amount at the bottom, twist above your hand, extra icing above twist, other hand to balance it. It works best with a larger canvas or feather weight bag. You won't have to refill so often.
Take Squirelly's advice and give the featherweight bags a try--they really are MUCH nicer to use, even considering the inconvenience of having to wash them. They are so much nicer on the hands. I don't know why--they're still some kind of plastic, but it really does make a world of difference.