Tips for Prevention

Our wrists, hands and fingers are amazing tools. They point, pinch, snap, grasp, poke, push and squeeze. All too oftern, we take them for granted – we forget how much strain they are under every day. To help prevent injury and wear and tear, practice these hand-saving tips:

  • Close a drawer by placing your palm and fingers flat against the front of the drawer with your wrists bent, then push. This method will put most of the pressure on your wrists. Most people push in with their fingertips, which creates undue pressure on the fingers and hands.
  • Assist yourself out of a chair by pushing off with your hands flat. Do not grip the chair to push off.
  • When reading a heavy book, place it on a table or book rest or on your lap. Holding a heavy book puts strain on the hands in your hands.
  • Don’t carry a saucepan with one hand — get the other arm involved. First, if the pan is hot, place a towel over one forearm to protect it. Put your protected forearm under the handle while grabbing the end of the handle with your other hand. Now when you carry the pan, the weight of the pan will rest on your forearm.
  • When carrying a stack of dishes — or something of a similar shape — don’t grip the stack around the edges. It’s better to place your hands flat, palms up, underneath the bottom plate.
  • Use care when opening screw-top jars or bottles. You may want to purchase a jar opener that mounts under a cabinet or table, which will allow you to open a bottle or jar with one hand. Similarly, using a small rubber “gripper” greatly reduces the stress on your fingers. You can usually find grippers wherever kitchen utensils are sold.
  • Place playing cards in a holder designed for such a purpose, rather than holding a fan of cards in your hand. Look for a card holder — and similar hand-saving devices — at medical supply stores, hospital gift shops or on the Internet.
  • Look for ways you can modify your home that will simplify common tasks. For example, consider replacing your traditional kitchen or bathroom faucet handles. Most hardware or plumbing supply stores now carry large “bulb”-type handles or long-bladed handles, which can be turned by your wrists or forearms and eliminate the need to use your fingers.