We use our hands for almost everything, so it’s a good idea to know the best ways to prevent hand, wrist, and finger injuries. Unfortunately, these kinds of injuries are extremely common due to the nearly constant use of our hands. Most professions are heavily reliant on the use of our hands whether it’s for typing, writing, organizing, playing an instrument, or performing any sort of skilled labor.
There are many ways that you can take precautions against hand injuries. Working some simple changes into your everyday routine can help ensure that your hands remain functional and pain-free.
Here are some common hand injuries and what you can do to prevent them:
- Arthritis of the Hand and Wrist: You’re probably already familiar with Arthritis, as it is a relatively common disorder. Arthritis of the hands and wrists can be extremely painful and even debilitating. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage between your joints wears out and causes the bones to rub against each other making it difficult to move the joint and causing pain. Here are several ways you can stave off arthritis: maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke or quit smoking, and take precautions at work if your work requires a lot of heavy pushing, pulling, lifting, or typing.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This is among the most commonly reported hand injuries or disorders out there. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome develops as a result of regular repetitive activity. Most common symptoms are numbness, weakness, and pain in the hands. While there are no proven methods to prevent Carpal Tunnel, you can reduce stress on your hands by using less force when you grip, type, or write, taking breaks from typing or other activities to stretch your hands and wrists, using good posture, and using an ergonomically designed keyboard or mouse.
- Smartphone Thumb: This has become an increasingly common disorder as cell phones have become ubiquitous in our society. As phones get larger your thumb’s reach is tested when trying to do one handed tasks on the phone. The repetitive motion of scrolling with your thumb can lead to pain and numbness, and eventually cause larger issues like tendinitis or arthritis. This can be avoided by reducing the amount of time you spend on scrolling on your smartphone and taking breaks to stretch your thumb and hands when you’ve been using your phone a lot.
- Wrist Tendinitis: Tendinitis occurs when the sheathe that a tendon usually moves through becomes inflamed and causes pain. This can happen to many joints but is particularly common in the wrist and the elbow. Tennis and Golfer’s elbow are forms of tendinitis. Here are some ways you can prevent tendinitis: avoid activities that put excessive stress on your joints, mix up your exercise routine by rotating out activities to give joints a rest, stretch before physical activity, use good posture in the workplace, and improve your technique when it comes to repetitive activities. If exercise or work that involves repetitive movements are causing you pain, figure out a way to do that activity differently in a way that is not painful.
Hand and wrist injuries are extremely common, and often debilitating. Keep your hands, wrists, and elbows functioning properly by taking care when doing repetitive activities or any kind of activity that causes strain on your hands wrists, and arms.
It can be tough to remember to take breaks to stretch your hands, especially if your work requires constant activity of your hands. It can be a good idea to set a reminder on your computer or phone to take a short stretching break every half hour or hour. Once a good habit is established it’ll be much easier to remember to take a break to stretch.
Hopefully these tips will help you prevent painful hand and wrist injuries. If you are experiencing joint pain in your hands and wrists currently, make an appointment with your local orthopedic hand specialist to get the treatment you need today. Catching these disorders quickly can save lots of pain and hassle further down the road.