I sometimes write for hours per day (calligraphy), and my hand starts hurting because of holding the pen for so long.

Is there a solution to this problem, e.g. some kind of glove or pen-strap that reduces pressure on the fingers?

6 Answers 6

  1. If your hands start hurting or feeling sore, take a break. Listen to your body - if something hurts, it needs to rest. Otherwise, you can risk permanently injuring/disabling yourself. One artist whom I follow, Yuumei, has shared her experience with this: https://www.deviantart.com/yuumei/journal/PSA-for-Artists-Don-t-make-the-same-mistake-I-did-577426340. I personally will take breaks to stretch my hands and massage the sore parts of my fingers. If they're still hurting after a break, then it means I'm done for the day. It's not worth risking permanent disability by pushing yourself to draw/write for a few more hours.
  2. Check your hand/wrist alignment when you're writing. I've found it helpful to rest my wrist on a rubber/foam coaster - it adjusts the angle of my wrist just enough to relieve some of the pressure.
  3. Explore other methods of calligraphy. I used to draw extensively in pencil (graphic and colored pencil), but over time I found that the pressure created a lot of pain in my joints, especially where I held the pencil or rested my hand/fingers against the table. I started painting instead, which doesn't require much pressure to create a visible mark (and requires much less energy to fill a space with color). Perhaps try using a brush instead of a pen from time to time, and see if that provides an outlet for you to continue doing calligraphy without wearing your hands out as much.
  • 1
    Ditto #1. Take breaks. It can be called RSI (repetitive stress injury). Getting it done sooner is not worth the long term risk.
    – Matt
    Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 12:44

If you are "very concerned", talk to your General Practitioner MD. He may refer you for physical therapy. Therapists have access to many writing assistive technologies.

I have used (and still do sometimes) different rubber tubes, slipped over pens, pencils, etc. They relieve my hand pain, which is due to a neurological injury.

Be sure your PC environment is ergonomically correct. Easy workstation guides are easily found (online).


People with arthritis and various other ailments and injuries that affect their hands increase the size of what they hold. This lets you use more of your hand to hold the pen and apply less pressure. The common technique is to stick the pen into some form of foam or rubber grip, or even a rubber ball. I have no idea how compatible this would be with the motions and control needed for calligraphy, but it's an inexpensive thing to try.

Perhaps the most important thing is to listen to your body. Take regular breaks, and do other motions with your hands to relax your muscles. If you're feeling pain, you've been doing it for too long without a break. I'm not familiar with calligraphy techniques, but there may be things like hand positions that are less stressful on your body, that would allow you to work longer before needing a break.


Something I have done is soaking my hands in warm water (not lukewarm, not boiling hot, just as much heat as you can handle) before, after, and in between the periods of writing (say, taking a break for half an hour or so). I did that for many of my long writing projects in school.

Another, slightly foolish trick would be trying to hold the pen with all your fingers at once; one of my classmates did that. She was one of those students who wrote nine pages for a one line question, so maybe that habit helped (or at least didn't cause any harm.


You may want to consider using a wrist brace while writing. It'll constrict your writing, so you'll need to practice with it before doing something that needs to look perfect. You can also search for "writing brace" to find something that's a little less obtrusive.

Wrist brace

I've seen something that you can rest your hand on while you write that allows you to move more freely, like a mechanics creeper, but I can't find what I'm looking for. There's always the neoprene half-glove that makes moving your hand easier, too.

Beyond that, and I think the root of the problem, is that you are holding the pen too tightly. Maybe a different sized pen would help with that. Getting a thicker grip would likely let you relax your hand some. Again, this might take some time to practice with the new stylus, but it should help.

Also, I've heard that cramps happen due to dehydration. Try drinking more water. Actual water, not tea, coffee, pop, alcohol, sports drinks, or anything else but straight water. Almost everything else has something in it to diminish the effect of straight water.

  • Thanks! Will that glove force me to use my shoulder rather than my wrist to write? Is that the idea?
    – user56834
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 5:32
  • @user56834, it will involve your elbow and shoulder more as a side effect of just trying to keep your wrist from moving in undesirable ways. Carpal tunnel is caused by friction of ligaments in your wrist. This can cause pain as well as needing to use other muscles in your hand to compensate. The brace also helps the blood flow better, since you are less likely bending blood vessels in undesirable ways. Well, as long as you don't over tighten the wrist brace, like I've done before. If your fingers turn colors other than pink, you've either got it too tight or there's real issues there. Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 16:06

There are triangular pen grips that can enable you to hold the pen more gently and with your hand in a more relaxed position. Many are aimed at kids but there are bigger ones with rounded corners

I don't have to write for long periods these days but used them as a substitute for my Lamy Safari pens when I had to write a lot of lecture notes and take written exams. These have a much nicer grip than many pens, but may not be suitable for what you're doing, despite being available with a range of fountain pen nibs.

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