My chest-banging tic has been around for almost a decade. When it began, my chest bruised a lot and I tried loads of different ways of managing it. I tried restricting the movement of my arm, Habit Reversal Training and padding my chest, but in the end the most effective solution was to wear padded gloves. After lots of research I found a pair of inner boxing gloves that worked well for me, and both Poppy and my mum used these as a template to make me some amazing bespoke gloves.
Recently, Lonsdale, the company that made my favourite gloves redesigned them and they no longer work for me. I’ve got enough other pairs to keep me going for a while but I no longer have any ready-made versions that I can recommend to other people. Lots of people with Tourettes have tics that involve their hands and arms and I’m often asked about my gloves.
Recently I had the idea of developing a pattern that could be shared online and used by others as a template to make their own padded gloves. It might take a little while to make this happen, so in the meantime I’ve come up with a super-quick, no-sewing solution:
Here’s what you need:
1. A stretchy tube-bandage (Get the right size – there’s a size guide here)
2. A pair of scissors (and someone who can use them safely)
3. A small piece of padding (camping mats work well but folded bandage or dressings, or even socks, would work too)
Here’s how to make your gloves:
1. Measure – Unroll the tube-bandage, measure out a length that goes from the mid-arm to over the knuckles, twice. The bandage will be folded over to make a two-layered glove so it needs to be double the length of the area it covers. Then cut it to this length (but don’t cut your arm off).
2. Fit – Put the tube-bandage on your arm – half the bandage should be on your arm and the other half should be dangling over your hand waiting to be folded back. Cut a small hole for the thumb to stick through.
3. Fold – Fold back the remaining half of the tube-bandage so you are wearing a double layer of bandage – make a second hole for the thumb to stick through.
4. Pad – Add the padding wherever it is needed. For ‘punching tics’ cover the knuckles and for ‘slapping tics’ cover the palm – do both if needed. The padding should go between the two layers of tube-bandage and will be held in place by the fold at the top and the stretchy fabric.
5. Finish – Tuck in any loose ends and enjoy!
These might not be the most stylish gloves ever but from the trials that I’ve done they seem pretty robust and comfortable. You can get tube-bandage in black as well as white, which will show the dirt less.
The other great thing about this solution is that the padding can be moved or adjusted depending on your tics – this means you can find out where the padding is needed before making or sourcing a more permanent solution.
This is a very new idea so please let me know how you get on.