DIY cubital tunnel syndrome splint

the condition

Lately I have developed a bout of self-diagnosed cubital tunnel syndrome that is making me mad. It started with a vague tingling in my pinky and ring fingers, progressing to a slight ache in those extremities over the course of several years. A few months ago it graduated to a near-constant pain that runs from the inside of my elbow to the tips of my fingers. Needless to say I got a bit grumpy over this. 

Some careful research on the internet assured me that I am in immediate danger of keeling over dead. Some further research conceded that maybe I have what appears to be ulnar nerve entrapment. More specifically, the one where the ulnar nerve gets pinched as it runs through the cubital tunnel. In laymen’s terms: my funny “bone” was being compressed and it was far from funny. 


The internet suggested I follow a healthy lifestyle, get regular exercise and avoid fast food, because surely the Big Mac is the cause of all the world’s grief (pro tip: it’s not). More enlightened advice explained that one of the leading causes of cubital tunnel syndrome is keeping the elbow bent for prolonged periods of time, such as sleeping with an arm crooked under the pillow. Which is of course what I do ALL THE TIME.

The obvious solution to this is to get a splint, but the ones available for reasonable prices were all geared towards sports performance or supporting the elbow during movement, which is not what I required. Luckily I remembered that I am in the habit of making garments specifically focused on body-modification, and after that the answer was clear: I would have to make my own damn splint. 

the splint


I started by cutting up some old pyjama trousers as they ensured a nice comfy fit while sleeping. I just cut by sight without measuring it, so that would explain any wonkiness inherent in the final product. 


Next I figured out some rough placements for the boning channels and the spring steel bones. For some reason I had 15cm steel bones on me. Not sure what I ever bought them for. 


Construction: I decided to have two bones that will run along the inside of the elbow to keep my arm straight. For the other side I added a little pillow to cushion my poor abused ulnar nerve that was now feeling very funny and not in the mood for any sort of hard surface. Because I’m a designer and I care about such things, I added some nice contrasting stitching and black binding. 


Finally I added some elastic to keep the whole thing attached to my arm. I didn’t want to include velcro on something I’d be sleeping in, and the elastic also causes the splint to have some give, which is nice. 


It fits rather nicely onto my arm and cushions my elbow so well that I’ve taken to wearing the splint at work where I spent 99% of my time resting my elbow on a hard desk surface. 


If I strain I can bend my arm about 90 degrees, which is the recommended maximum for cubital tunnel syndrome. Mostly it keeps my arm straight during sleep while not restricting my movements too much.

the result

I don’t know if the cure was, in fact, just good ole’ time, or whether this nifty splint actually helped to get me there, but the fact remains that my arm feels much better now. I also did some exercises shared on YouTube by the nice occupational therapy students at Western Michigan University. 

So maybe now I’ll start a roaring trade in comfy arm corsets for the ulnar nerve entrapped masses… 


#dailyfail – pores

Time now for the #dailyfail, an event which is inevitable in my everyday life.

My co-workers are gross, so one of them sent me this email: 

pores fail

On the surface it seems harmless enough, but the attached picture is still the sort of close up I didn’t need to see.

pores And now they’re back to making butt jokes. 


period-proof panties (and great design) by thinx

As a designer I get to trawl the internet for beautiful stuff as part of my job (and yet you won’t believe how much even that feels like work sometimes…) Today’s interesting find was forwarded to me by a client who liked the design and I wanted to share it, because not only is the site really pretty and explanatory, it also features some truly innovative menstrual hygiene products. 

I give you THINX and their period proof panties:


The site is beautiful and fun and helps to take another small step towards breaking the taboo surrounding menstruation, while also proving that design geared towards women does not have to be either pink or frilly or feature the suggestive curves of a leaping woman on the logo. AND their favicon is a period stain. It doesn’t get much cooler than that. 

Here’s a pic of how their panties work (click on the image to view it enlarged on the site):



And the best part? If you buy some of their panties they pay it forward by donating money to AFRIpads, who in turn not only produces cost effective cloth sanitary pads, but also provides women with the knowledge and tools to make their own, empowering them to start their own businesses and keep more of their girls in school. Literarily everyone wins. 

#dailyfail – no light, no light

Time now for the #dailyfail, an event which is inevitable in my everyday life.

dimmed car headlight close-up

This weekend I couldn’t go anywhere at night, because my car’s headlights weren’t working. 

#dailyfail – frozen

Time now for the #dailyfail, an event which is inevitable in my everyday life.

Frozen Hillcrest berries stuck in the freezer

The frozen berries I had planned to have in my breakfast smoothie this morning was frozen solid and frost-welded to the tray that had frozen shut inside my over-frozen freezer. Winter isn’t coming. Winter is here. 

Game of Thrones White Walker gif

Happy winter y’all!