Craftsmen’s hands hold a lifetime of skill in them. They transform cold clay, unfinished wood, raw metal, blank canvas, or uncut fabric into unique pieces, each a form of art in its way. Unfortunately, years of effort can take a toll on the hands. Without proper preventative care, the repetitive motions these skills require can cause injuries or conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, or arthritis. When your hands are your livelihood, a debilitating injury can mean the end of your career and your passion. Fortunately, there are ways to keep hands limber and healthy that can help you prevent hand pain or injury. We put together tips for stretching and exercising your hands:
Limber Up Those Fingers.
Many kinds of craftsmanship require hours of repetitive motions handling small tools to carve, stitch, or paint, which can strain hands. Stretching to relax your hands and wrists before you begin working and taking hourly breaks to stretch while working can help prevent the development of conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis by keeping your hands limber. Stretching can also help you notice pain and stiffness that may be a sign of strain from overuse. Try working these exercises into your daily routine to help prevent hand pain and build flexibility:
Stretch your wrists by holding your arm out with your hand raised in a “stop” motion. Gently pull back your fingers towards you and hold for the count of ten. With your arm extended, drop your hand until your fingertips point towards the floor. Cup the back of your hand and gently pull it towards you and hold for the count of ten. Repeat this exercise three times for each wrist.
Take Strength in Hand.
When you aren’t working on creative projects, exercise your hands to build strength and maintain flexibility in your joints, tendons, and ligaments to help reduce the strain your work puts on your hands. This can help prevent the development of repetitive stress conditions like tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as reduce the risk of degenerative conditions like arthritis. Try using therapeutic putty, a flexible silicone polymer, for these exercises.
The putty works similarly to a stress ball, your hands and fingers work against the putty’s resistance. Roll the putty back and forth in your hands to warm up before you begin. Try to work these exercises into your routine several days each week. Here are some exercises to try:
Home exercises can help maintain hand and wrist health, but only a hand specialist can diagnose the source of your problem and prescribe treatment. When your hands hurt, or struggle with tasks they have done for years, this can be a warning sign of a more serious condition. If you’re experiencing hand pain that doesn’t subside with stretching or strength exercises, or if stretching or exercising causes pain, it’s time to put your hands in ours. Whether you’re a professional craftsman or a hobbyist, don’t let hand pain stop you from doing what you love, schedule an appointment with the Hand Surgery Specialist of Texas today.
Soon, we will celebrate our nation’s Independence Day with family and friends enjoying delicious barbecue, hot apple pie with ice cream, and of course, fireworks. I used to love lighting fireworks, which we did often growing up in New York until fireworks became prohibited there. Here in Texas, I have learned to admire the spectacle from afar. After all, who could truly emulate the spectacular fireworks done by Disney or Macy’s? Nevertheless, many proud Americans still find it patriotic to make fireworks a part of their Fourth of July festivities.
In the wrong hands, fireworks can be a hazard that may cause permanent damage, especially to the hands’ muscles, bones, and delicate skin. According to the 2014 Fireworks Annual Report published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 10,500 firework-related injuries in 2014 and about 70% of them occurred between June 20th and July 20th. By far, the hands and fingers were the most injured body parts, which accounted for 36% of all firework-related injuries. This means roughly 2,500 injuries: 1,700 burns, 200 lacerations, 300 fractures, and 300 not specified injuries to the hands and fingers. The most common reason for an injury was improper handling of fireworks, such as lighting them in one’s hand, being too close to lit fireworks, or improperly igniting them. Statistically, the number of injuries had not varied significantly in the 15 years before 2014.
If you want to have a personal fireworks display this season, preparation and caution can help reduce the risk of an injury. Here are some guidelines for enjoying fireworks this Independence Day:
If a hand-related accident or injury happens despite all precautions, don’t panic, we can help. Put your hands in ours and schedule an appointment with the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas.
Have a happy Fourth of July!