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Sore Hands

Sam Smith

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I'm the proud owner of a new Stagi anglo 30 button I picked up from my neighbor Bob Tedrow this weekend. OK, so he is 120 miles and a time zone away, but in the States that counts as close. I've started on the "demystified" book and am making enough progress that I have decided I won't throw the concertina out the window. Yet.


My problem is the straps hurt the backs of my hands. I don't have the straps tight. My fingers are long enough that, in order to reach the buttons without curling my fingers inward, I have to place the strap across the top of the big knuckles where the fingers join the hand. That's an uncomfortable position.


Any suggestions? Anybody else have that problem?

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Hey, Sam


You probably should have posted your query in the "Ergonomics" forum but it'll likely migrate there anyway. :) If you haven't yet, you could do a search there for hints.


If you can be obsessive sometimes, like me, you probably just played too long at it. Strapping your hands to a little box and drumming your fingers just ain't natural for most people. :) Keep exploring different positions of hand and strap.


I found some observations in this thread over in "Ergonomics."



There's a quote in there from bignick concerning a similar problem:


"What did work was to raise the palm rest about half an inch (I moulded a polymer clay pad to fit my hands and the existing palm rest bar and attached it to the bar with zip strips). With the bar higher my hands go further into the strap so it is no longer on the back of my knuckes. Also the higher bar means that joint is bent to its natural relaxed position whereas before it was reflexed upwards, which I'm sure contributed to the problem. I also lined the inside of the strap with a soft resilient material to better cushion it against my hand."



You also could consider playing for shorter periods of time at first, and stretching your playing muscles before and after each session. The exercises recommended for computer keyboardists can help, believe it or not.:) I use them.


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Stagis (especially the metal-ended ones) are famous for having the handles too close to the inner row of buttons. Possible treatments:


1) Take the ends off and move the handles by drilling new holes through the metal ends. Since Stagis aren't heirlooms, there's no reason not to modify them to suit.


2) Go to the hardware store and buy a length of foam pipe insulation (the smallest size, 1/2 inch inside diameter, I think). Six feet/2 m costs about a dollar in the U.S. This can be cut up to make pads that raise the handles. Let the straps out some, and you have more room (at least I do). My article on this is here. It works for fixing comfort problems, not just orthopedic issues.


Moral, with concertinas, you have to modify endlessly, and do minor repairs inside as well.

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