Living "One Handed" (Temporarily):

Helpful Hints for the Healing Period

If you have injured your hand or wrist or are considering having surgery that is going to put one hand out of commission for a bit, here are a few suggestions to get you through this period!


Rally your friends!  Ask for help with child care, house work, and meal preparation.  It sometimes seems hard to ask others for assistance, but you likely will be surprised at how happy people are to help others in need.

Practice. The simplest activities-showering, brushing your teeth, dressing, undressing, and using the toilet can be a little tricky if you are one-handed.  Practice ahead of time so that you are more comfortable when you need to do it.

Prepare for your homecoming.  Open medications you might need and leave them open (but out of reach of children).  Break seals on food and drink containers known to be tough (beverage bottles, sealed jars, etc.).  Stock the kitchen with “easy to eat” (for example, “no cutting required”) meals.

Ready your shower with newspaper bags and rubber bands to keep your splint or dressing dry.  A soft sponge on a long stick can help you clean yourself with your “good hand.”  Use a hair brush to help wash your hair and a bathrobe to help dry your back.  (See, these are things you otherwise might not think about until you are one-handed and desperate!)

Ready your bathroom with flip-top toothpaste, dental floss on a handle, and an electric razor if needed.

Ready your kitchen with a rubber jar opener mat to open jars and to keep things from sliding, double suction cup pads to hold items, and an electric can opener if needed.


Hairdryer Stand PhotoLong Comb

Ready your wardrobe and style with a back scratcher, shirts with large sleeve holes, and L’eggs Sheer Energy nylons (or others that can withstand being pulled on one-handed!).  You might consider a sports or front-clasp bra; clothing that buttons or snaps in the back is going to be tough.  Finally, many of my patients (particularly women) end up cutting their hair to “something easier” during the recovery period.  I do have one patient whose husband learned to blow dry and flat iron her hair and did so every morning for three months, but we all marvel at that dedication... it likely won’t happen, so consider your options!




If you are compelled to be ultra-prepared, there are books like “One Handed in a Two-Handed World” by Tommye-K. Mayer that address many of the everyday activities.  Also, there are websites like that sell assistive devices like the long reach hair washer and comb and the hairdryer stand in these photos.


You will get by, but it never hurts to be prepared if you have the luxury of doing so!