You need your hands to be in good shape for a variety of activities, including office work and petting your dog. They are subjected to a great deal of stress, so reduce the risk of injury from overuse, strains, or cuts. These simple techniques can be used to protect your hands at any time or for specific activities that pose special challenges.
Tips for Hand Safety in General
- Maintain proper posture. Because the nerves in your hands are connected to the nerves in your neck, pain from a lifetime of slouching can reach all the way down to your fingertips. Maintain a straight back, shoulders lowered and pressed back, and abdominal muscles slightly flexed.
- Maintain a neutral position for your hands and wrists. Wrist extension puts pressure on the nerves and reduces circulation. Straighten them out as much as possible, especially if you’re at the keyboard for an extended period of time.
- Slow down and concentrate on what you’re doing. Mindful and deliberate movements make any task less dangerous, whether you’re cooking dinner or pruning hedges. If you end up in the hospital, rushing around wastes time.
- Warm your hands up. You can prepare your hands for any job by doing the same thing you do before exercising. Experiment with simple stretches such as making a fist and then extending your fingers. Raise your arms above your head, reaching for the sky. Wrists and shoulders should be rotated.
- Take frequent breaks. Repetitive motions are usually to blame for carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis. Rest and stretch for a minute about every half hour while typing or playing tennis. Alternate activities if you can.
- Injuries should be treated as soon as possible. If minor injuries are not treated, they can progress to serious disabilities. If direct pressure does not stop the bleeding within 15 minutes or if you require a tetanus shot, go to the emergency room. If you have numbness or tingling in your hands, consult your doctor.
Tips on Hand Safety for Specific Activities
- Consider your options before carrying. Plan ahead of time when you go grocery shopping or transport yard tools. Instead of a hand basket, use a wheeled cart. If you must carry a load by hand, choose a container that can be held in two hands and use your arms to help you hold it against your chest rather than dangling it from your wrist.
- Learn how to carve correctly. Always use small, controlled movements to cut away from your body. To avoid slips, keep knives and work surfaces dry.
- Be wary of the bagel hand. Get yourself a bagel slicer. Otherwise, cut them in half, then stand them on their ends and slice down to finish.
- Cutlery should be washed with care. Using soapy water to look for sharp objects is a recipe for disaster. Separately wash and dry cutting tools.
- Avoid paper cuts. Paper cuts, in addition to being painful, can become infected. Wearing inexpensive medical exam gloves or dabbing on a little olive oil or hand cream can help you avoid them.
- Use personal electronics with caution. To avoid strain, clasp your phone or tablet with as little pressure as possible. Change hands frequently to allow each side to rest.
- Examine your workstation. Quality chairs, wrist rests, and standing desks can help office workers keep their hands and entire bodies pain-free. Request that your supervisor bring in an ergonomic consultant, or conduct your own online research. Many solutions, such as adjusting your posture or keyboard height, are either free or very inexpensive to implement.
Your hands are two of your most valuable possessions. By using them wisely, you can avoid common injuries and chronic pain.