WRITING DESPITE wearing a BANDAGE on your Hand

Teaching the correct writing posture for the human hand, and correcting the harmful writing positions children develope.
How to write easily with the RING PEN 

Professor Earl Owen (1934-2014)

Légion d'honneur, M.B., B.S. (Uni. Of Syd.), M.D. (Lyon), D.Sc., D.S., F.R.A.C.S., F.R.C.S., F.I.C.S., F.R.C.S.E, F.A.C.B.S.

Specialist in Microsurgery, Hand and Infertility Surgery
Past President 1996-1998, International College of Surgeons
Medical Director, The Microsurgery Institute of Australia
Medical Director, The Sydney Musician's Clinic









Professor Earl R. Owen




An amazing number of people hold their writing instruments so incorrectly that they cause themselves hand injuries. An increasing number of children are given no instruction about how to hold a pencil or pen when they begin their schooling, and some of them immediately adopt anatomically damaging positions. Arthritics and hand injured people have difficulties in holding a pen. 

It is most  important to start a child writing in the correct anatomical position so as to avoid later complications.  Holding a pen is simple and can be relaxed and secure. EVOLUTION has evolved a disproportionately large area of the motor and sensory brain substances so as to enable us to easily control our thumbs, index, and middle fingers precisely. We can be taught a relaxed correct writing posture, and we  can assist people with injured hands and arthritic hands to write without pain provided we know how ourselves and provided we know what equipment is available to assist. 

Anyone is capable of writing "REVOLUTIONARY" on the head of a pin with the skill required and without any further tuition if they have a sharp enough implement held correctly and are given enough magnification.  We have enough control in the normal hand to do it because we have so much brain allocated to fine hand movements. 


This is relaxed position: 

The pen rest on the thumb side halfway along the distal end of the middle finger, balancing an that and on that patch of skin at the web space between thumb and index finger when the whole hand is resting an its ulnar border,  Then the slightly bent thumb touches the pen and the less slightly bent index finger completes the soft grip by resting on the pen now held in the triangular grip between thumb, index and middle finger. 

There are three (3) ways to write from this perfectly relaxed position. 

  • One is to wiggle the pen with most of the movement coming from the finger action; 
  • another is to use whole arm action with a little wrist action; 
  • and the mast relaxed way to write is a combination of the two  above ways. 


a) Too Much Finger Squeezing

The "Death Grip" of the pen, sometimes so concentrated that that the thumb distal joint is at right angles to the proximal bone and the  skin over the thumb is white from tension. Sometimes this is made worse by a similar vice like grip from the opposing index finger, also bent in a very flexed way. Together this hard squeeze presses the pen down so hard on the middle finger that it leaves an indention in the skin. This upsets flexor tendon activity and causes problems later in life at and above the wrist joint. 

b)   Incorrect Positions 

Some people and too many children, hold the pen at more than 45 degrees from the perfect position, even 90 degrees up in the air and over towards the knuckles. Some even only use thumb and index finger in odd combinations. Some hold the pen between thumb and middle and ring fingers! All the aberrant positions jeopardise the action of the intrinsic muscles of  the hand, and cause lasting problems in life. 


a) Show Children The Correct Hand Posture. 
Check the writer's hand position while writing and try to alter it to be more relaxed in the correct posture. 

b) The "Death Grip" is hard to change but can be helped by switching to a pen with a much wider body, which should be at least double the diameter of the normal pen. Slipping a rubberised tube over the normal pen is another way to increase the diameter of the pen barrel,  Fatter pens and rubber slip one are available in major shops and stores selling writing materials. 

c) Taking rests while writing is a very good way of cutting down the side effects or unchanged bad posture  It is hard to change posture after ten (10) or more years doing something else, but is worth persisting. 


Here the problem is to even hold the pen between fingers that are distorted from their normal position. The same is true for people who have had hand injuries and may be in finger end hand bandages and splints.  Writing then tends to be a matter of somehow securing the pen and then using the whole arm to write, rather than wriggle the wrist and fingers. 

There are some people who will benefit from the security of grip given by a device called the Ring-Pen.

A large ring in the shaft of the pen allows a finger to be slipped into the hole, which stabilises the pen, allowing writing without the fingers being needed. The smaller version of this Ring-Pen is very useful to train children into the proper hand positions to correct their abnormal writing positions. And it's fun to use, too. 



Young adults are doing less writing in classes, as computers are being used more in schools and home. Writing is however essential in exams such as the Higher School Certificate (HSC) and the doctors are seeing more and more children with severe hand problems entirely due to bad hand posture and too tight thumb/finger grips heading for important exams, If it is for the HSC where computers may not be allowed, than it is a serious disability as the examinee might not be capable of writing to match his/her mental  ability. 

So do not wait too long to change such a bad hand posture. Most Doctors and health experts have not considered this problem and really do not know much about it. Pen shops in big stores can usually supply the big-bodied pens. The Ergobionics Company imports the Ring-Pens which makers claim as the best answer to these problems. 

You can now understand that it is not only Real Estate salesmen who say that itís all about position, position, position. The same applies to writing. A relaxed correct writing position with the hand and forearm resting an the table will allow trouble free writing even for the most prolific author. 




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