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If you love drawing, pain in the hand or arm from repetitive motion can be very discouraging. Don’t let it hold you back! Here are 8 tips to help.

You probably would not think of drawing as a high risk activity, but for artists (or people that just love to draw!) who are doing this for a long time can experience hand or arm pain.

This can be due to poor pen grip, repetitive motions straining the hand and forearm muscles, and poor workspace setup. Try some of these tips and tricks to reduce your arm pain and allow you to draw for

• Ensure your desk and chair height is appropriate. Feet should be flat on the floor, knees at 90 degrees, hips at 90 degrees. Table height should be appropriate that you are not leaning over the table and shoulders should be comfortable and supported

• Take breaks and allow your muscles to rest in between sessions

• Use heatpacks and massage your forearm muscles to reduce tension and tightness

• Your hand therapist can check your pen grip and see if modifications are appropriate. Other methods such as making the width of the pen/pencil larger, or using pen grips can be helpful. Some people prefer weighted pens, others prefer lighter ones. Try mixing up your media for variety

• Assess how efficient you are with your strokes, does all the movement come from your thumb, fingers and wrist or do you move your whole arm? This can help with reducing fatigue

Wrist and finger stretches can relieve muscle tightness

Splints and soft braces may be required to provide support, reduce pain and increase endurance

• Work on upper limb, shoulder, and core strength to give you better strength and control in your hand. Exercises like pilates or swimming can be great for whole-body strengthening

Don’t let the pain stop you from doing something you love. Try some of these simple strategies and contact our Hand Therapists today so you to return to your passion sooner.