Pasadena, MD – September 7, 2010 – Hand injuries are quite common among individuals due to the constant use of the hand. Many of these injuries are preventable. Without proper precaution, simple strains, scrapes, blisters and bites can turn into serious problems if not treated appropriately.
The Certified Hand Therapists (CHTs) at NRH Regional Rehab in Pasadena, MD — a part of National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) — offer injury prevention techniques to help individuals avoid serious and long-term hand injuries. Lorie Theisen, Occupational Therapist and CHT, provides these simple tips to help prevent hand injuries during everyday activities: Don’ts:
- Don’t carry heavy objects with just one hand.
- Don’t try to support the heavy weight of objects, such as plastic grocery bags, with your fingers.
- Don’t pinch tightly when holding a pen.
- Don’t put prolonged pressure at the wrist and base of palm.
- Don’t slouch, sit up tall and keep your head and neck in good alignment with your shoulders
- Don’t stay in the same position for long periods of time.
Other factors to consider
- Do pick up objects with both hands, with hands open and support the object with your palms and forearms.
- Do use larger muscles for lifting for example hold groceries in a paper bag with both arms held close to your body.
- Do use a thicker pen and hold with just enough pressure to control the pen.
- Do strengthen your stomach or core muscles and upper back muscles to give you a stable base when performing tasks using your arms.
- Do check your posture often for proper alignment whether sitting at a computer or performing tasks in the garden.
- Do take breaks from prolonged sitting or standing.
- Remove bulky wrist jewelry when resting arm on table. Pad table edge, if needed.
- Alternate tasks and change positions frequently to reduce fatigue and muscle strain. Take rest breaks.
- Follow general joint protection principles.
Joint protection is using methods of modifying daily activities to protect joints weakened by the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Theisen strongly recommends following the guidelines listed below to reduce pain and dysfunction of joints. These guidelines are useful for everyone and not just for people with arthritis.
General Guidelines for Joint Protection
- Balance work and rest.
- Respect pain.
- Avoid holding or staying in one position for more than 10 minutes.
- Use the strongest or largest joint(s) available for the job.
- Avoid activities that can’t be stopped immediately if they become too stressful.
- Reduce the effort needed to do the job whenever possible.
- Use adaptive equipment and splinting to protect joints and improve function.
- Avoid awkward position which may lead to joint strain or deformity.
- Maintain muscle strength and range of motion.
Stretching is another important technique to avoid future pain and hand injuries. “Stretching exercises for the major muscle groups that will be involved in performing the task can reduce the risk of injury,” Theisen said.
Hand therapists suggest implementing these principles to a daily routine for early prevention. Starting these helpful tips now will go a long way in the future. To contact a professional hand therapist at NRH Regional Rehab-Pasadena, Maryland, call (410) 590-8750.
Learn more about National Rehabilitation Hospital’s hand therapy services.
National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) is a private, not-for-profit facility located in Northwest Washington, D.C. NRH’s services are designed specifically for the rehabilitation of individuals with disabling injuries and illnesses such as stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury and disease, arthritis, amputations, post-polio syndrome, chronic pain, back and neck pain, occupational injuries, cancer and cardiac disease that require medical rehabilitation, and other neurological and orthopedic conditions. NRH admits approximately 2,200 inpatients annually, has appeared on the “Best Hospitals” list in U.S. News & World Report for 16 consecutive years and is currently ranked among the top hospitals in medical rehabilitation in America. NRH has the only CARF accredited specialty program for both Spinal Cord Injury and Stroke in the region. In addition, NRH’s Spinal Cord Injury Program has been designated one of only 14 Model SCI Systems of care in the country by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), a part of the Department of Education. NRH is a proud member of MedStar Health.
The American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) is a non-profit organization with the goal to advance the specialty of hand therapy through communication, education, research and the establishment of clinical standards. ASHT’s nearly 3,000 members in the United States, Canada and around the world strive to be recognized leaders in the hand therapy profession. For more information about hand therapy or to find a hand therapist in your area, visit www.asht.org