Problems Holding a Pen: What Can Be Done?

Most of us take holding a pen for granted; but for others with issues related to arthritis, past injuries, or conditions affecting the hand it can become challenging and uncomfortable. There are various solutions you can try in order to make writing more comfortable and manageable; one useful device being the Arthroeze thumb splint which provides support and stability while gripping items.

Common Reasons Behind Difficulty Holding a Pen


Arthritis can lead to pain, stiffness and swelling in joints that makes gripping objects challenging; typically this condition afflicts thumbs for this task.

Past Injuries

Injuries to your hand, wrist or thumb may impede your ability to hold a pen effectively; fractures, sprains or strains could render this task impossible for you.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

This injury results from repetitive movements overusing one area of the hand or wrist which leads to pain in performing simple tasks like writing.

Neurological Conditions

Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome or nerve damage may impede hand strength and dexterity, making it hard to grip pens comfortably.

Benefits of Using a Thumb Splint

A thumb splint is designed to support and stabilise the thumb, helping relieve any pain or discomfort you might be feeling in this area. A splint may even enable easier pen usage – see here how.


A thumb splint helps alleviate strain on joints and muscles by maintaining stability of the thumb in its natural position, essential to holding on tightly to an object such as a pen.

Pain Reliever/Comforter

Splints may help relieve arthritis pain, injuries or repetitive strain by immobilising and restricting thumb motion and range.

Improved Grip

With your thumb in an ideal position, it can result in improved pen gripping capabilities. A splint will keep it from bending in ways that cause pain or reduce control; hence improving grip.

Enhanced Dexterity

Thumb splints can help improve overall hand dexterity by freeing other fingers to move more freely while supporting the thumb.

Types of Thumb Splint

There are various styles designed specifically to meet different needs:

Rigid Splints

These rigid supports can provide maximum support to joints recovering from surgery or severe conditions; they do restrict thumb mobility completely though. Semi-Rigid Splints

Soft Splints

Made of flexible materials, these splints offer the right mix of flexibility and support, permitting greater movement of the thumb while offering significant stabilisation to joints.

How To Choose and Use a Thumb Splint

1. Consult With Healthcare Provider

Before selecting a thumb splint, consult with a physician or occupational therapist; they can recommend the most suitable type for your condition.

2. Fit and Comfort

To ensure maximum comfort when wearing your thumb splint, ensure it fits appropriately; be wary of anything too snug as this could result in further irritation.

3. Following Your Healthcare Professional’s Advice

Adhere to the schedule set out by your healthcare professional regarding when and for how long the splint should be worn; some splints should only be worn during certain activities or times, such as sleep.

4. Practice Writing

Practice writing while using the splint to get used to its new grip and positioning. While adjustment may take some time, with practice you should see an increase in writing ability over time.

Other Tips:

  • Add rubber or foam grips for additional comfort and control while writing
  • Use ergonomic pens designed specifically to assist people with grip difficulties
  • Take frequent breaks to rest your hand and avoid excessive strain


If you’re having trouble holding a pen, don’t worry – you’re not alone, and there are effective solutions to help you. Using a thumb splint can provide the support and stability needed to improve your grip and reduce pain. Along with other strategies like using larger pens or adding grips, you can make writing a more comfortable and enjoyable activity. Always consult with a healthcare professional to find the best approach for your specific needs.

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