Top 5 Ways to Avoid Hand Overuse
One of Summit Orthopedics’ hand and wrist experts, Debra Parisi, M.D., discusses the best ways to avoid overusing our hands.
Our “helping hands” are by our sides every moment, taking on thousands of simple and complex tasks each day. That means that it’s easy to overuse our hands, which can cause painful irritation, inflammation, and injuries. So how can we avoid overusing our hands? Read on for some tips about how you can give your hands a hand.
“Every day, we perform many tasks that involve repetitive motion of the hands, wrists, and fingers. Most people can tolerate it, but some people develop symptoms,” said Debra Parisi, M.D.
The goal is simple: avoid inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s response to injury. It can include redness and swelling, both of which can cause pain and irritation in the many nerves, joints, and tendons that make up our hands. Here are five ways to avoid overusing our hands.
Tip 1: take frequent breaks to avoid hand overuse
Schedule breaks every 30 minutes. “It only takes a minute or two,” Dr. Parisi said. Just step away from what you’re doing. This will get your wrist and hand out of the position that they are typically in.
Tip 2: do stretching exercises
The goal of stretching exercises is to get the tendon gliding smoothly. Summit Orthopedics has some helpful hand and wrist stretching videos that you can follow from the comfort of home. Taking five minutes a couple of times a day to go through some of these stretches is an investment in the long-term health of your hands.
Tip 3: avoid activities that cause pain
Pain is a message from your body that something is not right. Stopping the activities and motions that bother you, even for a few weeks, can give your body time to reduce the inflammation that is causing your symptoms.
Tip 4: try splinting
Using a supportive splint or brace can help keep the wrist joint in position. “This helps you avoid straining a particular muscle group,” Dr. Parisi said.
Tip 5: prevent future hand overuse problems
You know what they say about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure? That’s definitely true with hand overuse injuries. From this point forward, avoid doing the same activity (from typing to tennis) without taking breaks to change position and stretch.
Using these guidelines, symptoms of these repetitive motion injuries generally improve in four to six weeks.
Summit Orthopedics provides personalized hand and wrist expertise
The function of our hands is integrated through our wrists and arms to our shoulders; a problem anywhere along our arm may have a significant impact on hand function and quality of life. If you experience an injury or uncomfortable symptoms, our fellowship-trained hand and wrist surgeons are here to help. Summit physicians receive the highest levels of training and exclusively provide individualized care for conditions of the hand, wrist, and elbow.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
More resources for you
- Take a look at Dr. Parisi’s list of questions to ask your hand surgeon
- Understand carpal tunnel sydrome with this article.
- What is a SLAP Tear?
- Watch a video about typing and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Try these simple hand-strengthening exercises
- Causes of Trigger Finger
- My Finger Is Numb. What Does That Mean?
- Four Hand Stretches You Might Not Have Tried Before.
- Can You Break Your Hand Without Realizing It?
Most people know what carpal tunnel syndrome is, but its causes are widely misunderstood. Upper extremity surgeon Dr. Debra Parisi addresses misperceptions and explains how carpal tunnel is treated.
Ask the Expert: Hand Video Series
Three nerves control our hands. Understanding nerve function can help us distinguish between benign symptoms and signals of nerve damage.