Custodial/janitorial personnel experience a lot of material handling and repetitive activities daily. Recently we encountered a hospital janitor who was about to file an injury claim because of a painful wrist. He attended our Backsafe® workshop and reported that within just days of injury prevention training, he could again experience the joy of picking up his young daughter, pain-free.
His particular malady was caused by improper wrist position while buffing the hospital’s floors. He was exerting force and sustaining bad wrist position for long durations while operating his buffer machine. Add vibration to the mix and it caused enough pain and inflammation to ruin his peace of mind and life style.
A key datum to know is: whenever possible, keep your wrist straight. This particular person worked with his wrists in extension (hands bent up higher that his wrists).
The muscles that move your fingers are in your forearms and when your wrists are in extension, this contracts the muscle on the topside of your forearms. When chronically in this posture, fatigue, discomfort, pain and eventually injury can surely occur.
So, while you’re at work buffing floors; breaking up concrete with a jack hammer; using other power tools; or typing on a keyboard, keep your wrists straight.
At home, the same rule applies.
The importance of stretching cannot be overstated as well. A brief and simple stretch can bring some relief. Gently flex your wrists up and down—extra stretch can be attained by using the opposite hand to slowly pull fingers back towards forearm; and conversely, pull fingers towards the underside of your forearm. If you experience any pain while doing this, stop immediately and seek a doctor’s advice.
You can be in charge of your own well-being. It is not your doctor’s job—it is yours. Your doctor helps you if you become injured or sick. You can be in charge of preventing injuries!