Hand and Wrist – Tool Use

hands_using_tools_mediumHuman hands are unique and one of our greatest assets. Can you imagine trying to work without them?

Do you suffer from any of the following symptoms? Numbness, tingling, redness, stiffness or reduced movement, pain, or reduced strength.

These can be the first steps down the road to serious injury or disability. The combination of forceful and awkward wrist movements repeated throughout your workday can lead to many types of injuries.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, and tendonitis are just a few of the problems that can impact your ability to use your hands over the long term.
What do you need to know?

  • The safest and strongest position for your wrist and hands is when your wrists is straight and you can use a comfortable power grip (the handshake position)
  • Some of the risk factors for your hand include powerful gripping, bent wrist postures, vibration from tools, cold, gloves, and poorly designed tool handles. When more than one risk factor is present, the risk is multiplied.

What can you do to prevent hand injuries?

  • Make sure that your tools are in good working order. Dull or poorly maintained tools take longer to get the job done, require more force, cause unnecessary vibration and increase the risk of injury from tool ‘kick back’.
  • Change the height that you work at to maximize your leverage and optimize your wrist posture and grip strength
  • WATCH OUT for the tendency to over-squeeze power tools.
  • If you can’t change your work, workstation or tools and have to work in awkward posture, make sure you take breaks to stretch and to let your muscles and tendons recover.