Finger, Hand, and Wrist Injuries (cont.)
The following tips may prevent finger, hand, and wrist injuries.
- Do exercises that strengthen your hand and arm muscles.
- Stop, change, or take a break from activities that cause your symptoms.
- Reduce the speed and force of repetitive movements in activities such as hammering, typing, knitting, quilting, sweeping, raking, playing racquet sports, or rowing.
- Change positions when you hold objects, such as a book or playing cards, for any length of time.
- Use your whole hand to grasp an object. Gripping with only your thumb and index finger can stress your wrist.
- Consider wearing gloves that support the wrist and have vibration-absorbing padding when working with tools that vibrate.
- Use safety measures, such as gloves, and follow instructions for the proper use of hand and power tools.
- Use caution when using knives in preparing food or craft activities. Supervise a child using knives or sharp scissors in craft activities.
- Wear protective gear, such as wrist guards, in sports activities.
- Review your work posture and body mechanics.
- Organize your work so that you can change your position occasionally while maintaining a comfortable posture.
- Position your work so you do not have to turn excessively to either side.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed when your arms are hanging by your sides.
- When using a keyboard, keep your forearms parallel to the floor or slightly lowered, and keep your fingers lower than your wrists. Allow your arms and hands to move freely. Take frequent breaks to stretch your fingers, hands, wrist, shoulders, and neck. If you use a wrist pad during breaks from typing, it's best to rest your palm or the heel of your hand on the support, rather than your wrist.
General prevention tips
- Wear your seat belt in a motor vehicle.
- Don't carry objects that are too heavy.
- Use a step stool. Do not stand on chairs or other unsteady objects.
- Wear protective gear during sports or recreational activities, such as roller-skating or soccer. Supportive splints, such as wrist guards, may reduce your risk for injury.
- Warm up well and stretch before any activity. Stretch after exercise to keep hot muscles from shortening and cramping.
- Use the correct techniques (movements) or positions during activities so that you do not strain your muscles.
- Avoid overusing your hand and wrist doing repeated movements that can injure your bursa or tendon. In daily routines or hobbies, examine activities in which you make repeated arm movements.
- Consider taking lessons to learn the proper techniques for sports. Have a trainer or person who is familiar with sports equipment check your equipment to see if it is well-suited for your level of ability, body size, and body strength.
- If you feel that certain activities at your workplace are causing pain or soreness from overuse, talk to your human resources department for information on other ways of doing your job or to discuss equipment modifications or other job assignments.
Keep your bones strong
- Eat a nutritious diet with enough calcium and vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. Calcium is found in dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt; dark green, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli; and other foods.
- Exercise and stay active. It is best to do weight-bearing exercise for at least 2½ hours a week. One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. In addition to weight-bearing exercise, experts recommend that you do resistance exercises at least 2 days a week. Weight-bearing exercises stimulate new bone growth by working the muscles and bones against gravity. Exercises that are not weight-bearing, such as swimming, are good for your general health but do not stimulate new bone growth. Talk to your doctor about an exercise program that is right for you. Begin slowly, especially if you have been inactive. For more information, see the topic Fitness.
- Don't drink more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day if you are a man, or 1 alcoholic drink a day if you are a woman. People who drink more than this may be at higher risk for weakening bones (osteoporosis). Alcohol use also increases your risk of falling and breaking a bone.
- Don't smoke or use other tobacco products. Smoking puts you at a much higher risk of developing osteoporosis. It also interferes with blood supply and healing. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
Injuries such as bruises, burns, fractures, cuts, or punctures may be a sign of abuse. Suspect possible abuse when an injury cannot be explained or does not match the explanation, repeated injuries occur, or the explanations for the cause of the injury change. You may be able to prevent further abuse by reporting it and seeking help.
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