Typically, we applaud technology as it continues to advance and give us new tools for work and play. These new gadgets often make our lives easier and more fun, however, some of these tools can actually have a negative impact on our hands.
Things like texting, typing, playing video games and tapping away on our smartphone or tablet if done in our moderation are fine, but many people spend hours upon hours doing these repetitive actions and can be prone to an overuse injury. This means they may experience pain, soreness or inflammation from repeating a particular motion over and over again.
To prevent injury, especially if you’re having a day of heavy digital device use, take a few minutes to stretch your arms and hands. The American Society of Hand Therapists offer many simple stretches to keep injuries at bay.
Here are a few that may work for you:
- Fold your hands together and turn your palms away from your body as you extend your arms forward. You should feel a stretch all the way from your shoulders to your fingers. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.
- Fold your hands together and turn your palms away from your body, but this time extend your arms overhead. You should feel the stretch in your upper torso and from your shoulders to your hands. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.
- Raise one arm overhead. Bend the elbow. Place the opposite hand on the bent elbow and gently push the elbow back further. This is a stretch for the triceps. Stretch both the right and left arm. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.
- Open up hands and spread the fingers as far apart as possible. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.
- Extend an arm in front of you, making sure the elbow is completely straight. With your palm down, take the opposite hand and bend the hand down toward the floor. Then turn the palm up, and stretch the hand up toward your body. This stretches the forearm and wrist muscles. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.
Give yourself a break from your handheld devices, whether that’s putting them down and going outside if possible or simply stopping briefly to do the above stretches. Maintaining your health, even for your hands, is important.