Raising children is rewarding. It is also a lot of work. Parents and caretakers don’t always pay attention to how they are using their hands or arms for everyday tasks involved in childcare. The focus of attention is most often on taking care of the child’s needs, not the proper way to lift or position their body. Repeating tasks in poor positions will result in overuse injuries. If you are a caretaker for a young child and are experiencing hand discomfort, here are some signs of overuse and what to do about it!
If you’re reading this at work, you are probably worried that something you’re doing right now is slowly killing you. The accumulated years of slouched spinal posture, squinting at a screen and sitting (“the new smoking”) are sources of health paranoia for the 80 percent of the workforce whose jobs do not regularly require physical activity.
And then there’s typing.
The anxiety over long sedentary workdays is often crystalized in fears of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a wrist ailment that is so associated with repetitive hand activities that the image attached to the Google medical information profile for it is an intently focused woman in an open-office plan sitting at a desk with one hand on a mouse and the other typing.
With an increase in the use of personal electronic devices during our daily lives, we need to be aware of potential negative impacts these devices can have on our bodies. Using electronic devices for extended periods of time, holding a static position, can create stress on our bodies.
Signs and Symptoms of Overuse
- Numbness in the fingers from sustaining wrist and elbow positions while holding the device.
- Cramping of the fingers and thumbs from using smaller devices for extended periods of time. Keep in mind that for every 1 kg of pressure applied to the pad of your thumb, there is 13 times that amount at the base of your thumb!
- Inflammation from repetitive movements causing triggering or catching in the fingers.
- Muscle stiffness in the neck or shoulders due to a prolonged bent posture when using devices.
from WRVO Public Media
Repeated use of anything can cause wear and tear including your smartphone. Continued scrolling and tapping can wear down the tendons in your hand and wrist causing injury. Repetitive use injuries are common in older adults but health professionals are seeing injury in younger patients as the age smartphone use decreases.
Dr. Daniel Polatsch, an orthopedic hand surgeon and co-director of the New York Hand and Wrist Center of Lenox Hill, joins us this week to discuss how extended use of smartphones can cause injury and how to reduce the risk of it.
Trigger finger and tendonitis are two of the more common injuries related to overusing your hands. This is usually common in people who spend long hours typing at the computer all day but Polatsch is seeing more patients come in with these injuries due to smartphone use.
“It can develop into something called a trigger finger or trigger thumb which is actually the proper name,” said Polatsch.