November 15, 2007

Lefty with writing pain

A Reader wrote:

I had always had decent handwriting. However, upon entering college 10 years ago, I started writing with the hook, because I had to take notes so fast. Over the years, my writing has become increasingly sloppy and painful. My wrist is in pain if I hook it to write. However, if I don't use the hook, the writing is sloppier than with it (its not too legible either way). This is becoming more and more of a problem and can be really embarrassing when filling out a form that someone can't read. Are there any suggestions on how to help increase the strength in my wrist and decrease the pain of writing. Also, is there a way to work on getting my handwriting back to normal? I would appreciate any suggestions.


  1. It takes time and patience to change the way you write - or to change anything that has been done a certain way for many years.

    I recommend that you practice just a little bit every day when you are relaxed and there is no pressure to perform. Make sure you have the paper tilted the correct way for lefties (see my photo in the "Writing Left" link on this website). Get your hand and wrist comfortably aligned. Write very slowly at first and concentrate on how the letters are formed. It can be quite helpful to mentally picture the old handwriting charts from elementary school.

    Working slowly in the beginning is very important, as it will help you reconnect with the small details and will allow you to work in a relaxed way that is less stressful to the wrist.

    When you have to fill out a form or do some other paper work, if at all possible, work slowly and use it as a chance to practice the same as you would do at home. It really doesn't matter if the doctor's receptionist or the DMV clerk has to wait an extra minute. (They don't mind making us wait, either.)

    Note that some people like to tilt the paper to an even more extreme angle than shown in the photo, sometimes turning it almost sideways. Find a combination of paper position and wrist alignment that works for you.

  2. I agree that daily practice is a good idea. It took time for your handwriting to get this way, and it will take some time to change it, so be patient.

    It seems that most people, right or left, find their handwriting gets worse with time. If all else fails, do what I did. Several years ago I started printing instead of using cursive writing. I am able to do it quickly and it remains legible. I did this mostly for my own benefit because I needed to be able to read my own notes later. But it works out well in all situations. Sometimes people compliment me on having such readable handwriting. They don't seem to notice or care that it is printing rather than writing.

  3. Well im only 15 years old and im left handed and i find it quite rewarding being part of the few percent of left handed people. But as for the angle Rosemary said i often find myself working on angled paper most people write with a somewhat "Portrait" style paper strait up and down maybe up to a 5% tilt i often find it eisier for me to write at a 90% tilt or "landscape" i supose people look at me and say what are you doing but just ignore them but working in smaller areas its quite hard to get ur paper to be able to do that because of the space and other materials on your desk thats why i enjoy the computer for writing because im quite a fast typer and really theres no need for dominancy in your hands but like Rosemary said just go slow and speed up as you get more and more used to it

  4. If all of the above fails, start exercising as follows: by squeezing a soft rubber ball, the size of a baseball at least 200 times during a day -preferably at 8-10 sets of 30-50 squeezes with hourly intervals. Between those sets, a few sets of strecthing out 2-3 rubber bands wrapped around the tips of your fingers, will also help greatly.
    In any case, ice therapy will pay dividents to your wrist. Place ice around it for 10 minutes max, every 2-3 hours, or whenever you feel pain (not more than once an hour, counting from the moment you removed the previous ice pack). Remember, though: the ice must never touch your bare skin -place a piece of cloth around your wrist, preferably waterproof.

  5. Writing for left handers can be a challenge for several reasons. Tilted paper to the left so many degrees may help the hook approach. However several things may help as time goes go. You may find that printing can actually may be acceptable and as a neater solution for business than sloppier handwriting I have also gotten to be very fast in my print/writing with practice. Also another pitfall is smeared ink stains on the paper from your palm across the paper. With pencil it also has the same effect as well as a tendency to press down harder. I have found the Parker ball jotter pen works best for fit and ink preservation without smearing.

  6. Yeah I still have difficulty writing fast. It is not easy thing to write fast when everything is designed backwards, anyways there are others ways you can write fast it is only useful for you i guess it solves the cramps and non awkward positions. It is one of the hardest thing to learn but i think u did it when you were young, try practicing writing backwards, just be like an mirror of how right handed people write. It is first very comfy, no awkward position of hand or paper, and no smudging, but is very difficult to grasp, and it is only useful for you.

  7. When I started writing, I never actually learned HOW to write. I write in print now, because when I learned cursive, I was in fourth grade, and so I didn't have a chance to actually learn how. In school, I have to specifically ask for a "left-handed" desk(one with the left side not touching another desk) or I end up bumping elbows with any righties. One advantage of being in school now is that there isn't really a limit to the number of specifically left-handed desks. All the desks are made for either hand usage.

  8. I specialize in helping people gain/regain handwriting skills. I would like to help you.

    Please do any or all of the following:

    /1/ visit my page for lefty writers at

    /2/ use the ordering information on that page to get the book/CD-ROM series LEFT HAND WRITING SKILLS -- going via the page given above will let the publisher know that the referral came from me

    /3/ visit the rest of my site at or

    /4/ e-mail or phone me for personal teaching (in-person or long-distance using your writing samples) - e-mail or phone me at 518-482-6763 here in Albany, New York, USA

    Kate Gladstone
    Founder, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting that Works
    Director, the World Handwriting Contest

  9. Nice.Thank you so much for sharing this post.


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