easy to put on no tie shoelaces

How no tie laces can aid in hand health

By: Hayley Goodman

No tie shoelaces can be a game changer in the medical community. Especially in occupational therapy. A few questions might be going through your head right now. First, you might be thinking to yourself “what the heck is occupational therapy?” You might also be thinking “what does this have to do with Caterpy?” Totally valid questions and the answer is actually pretty simple. Occupational therapists help the general population to develop, recover, or maintain meaningful activities and independence in their lives. Hand therapy is a specialization within this field and also where we see some of the most common orthopedic injuries. 


lace up with hand injury

Carpal tunnel syndrome causes numbness and tingling in the hand and arm because of compression on the median nerve in the wrist. The numbness is typically in the thumb, index and middle fingers. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), carpal tunnel syndrome is prevalent in 5% of the general population and accounts for 90% of all entrapment neuropathies. As you might imagine it would be hard to have the tight grasp required for tying your shoes if you have no feeling in three out of the five fingers in your hand. So instead of awkwardly fumbling with shoelaces in the morning when you’re getting ready for work or trying to get in a run, Caterpy provides an option to just slide on your shoes and get out the door. 

elderly woman dog with a ball

Trigger finger is when a tendon in the affected finger becomes inflamed, usually caused by repetitive gripping. Over time it gets stuck in a bent position more often, has to be snapped and released like a trigger, and becomes more painful. Since this condition is caused and aggravated by repetitive gripping, you could see why gripping your shoelaces tightly might not be the best idea. In fact, this could accelerate the progression of trigger finger over time, which leaves less chance for conservative treatment and a higher likelihood of surgical intervention. Plus, right now with everything that’s going on in the world, who wants to touch their dirty shoelaces anyway? 

man putting on shoes with no tie lacesDistal radius fracture (DRF) happens when the wrist breaks. This can happen when trying to catch yourself falling on an outstretched hand or on a tight fist. This is one of the most common fractures in the United States among all age groups. About 25% of children and 18% of the elderly population will sustain this injury in their lifetime (NCBI, 2020). DRFs can have an impact on the function of your hand and wrist. In order to tie our shoes, we need a certain amount of force and stability. This might be a little difficult with the limited motion and increased pain associated with this type of injury. Plus, you have to move your wrist in all different directions to tie your shoelaces just right, which won’t be possible for quite some time if you break your wrist. 
     Caterpy golf
Thumb carpometacarpal (CMC) arthritis is caused by degeneration of the cartilage from the end of the bones that form the base of the thumb. This is the second most common arthritis in the hand (Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center, 2020). The CMC joint of the thumb allows for a wide range of motion in this finger and helps with the ability to pinch. With limited use of your thumb, simple tasks can become difficult. Fine motor problems can become more frequent, making it hard to coordinate your fingers to tie a knot. 
     no tie shoelaces

Caterpy can allow for greater independence after injury. It takes time to recover from these conditions, even with occupational therapy interventions. But honestly by the time that happens Caterpy will probably be a staple in your wardrobe.  

Hayley Goodman is a third year student getting her doctorate in Occupational Therapy at the University of Florida. She likes to run, do yoga, and bike ride in her free time. She is hoping to complete her first half marathon by the end of this year.