This post can also be found on the Association Executives of North Carolina’s Success By Association blog.
The core of my practice is sports medicine. But it isn’t just athletes that get injured. As we rely more heavily on technology and the average person uses a desktop computer, a smartphone, and an Ipad in a given day, chronic overuse injuries are only going to increase. Ailments like epicondylitis (tennis elbow), carpal tunnel, and tendinitis are generally caused by repetitive use of the forearm, wrist, and hand muscles. These problems are degenerative in nature and can be extremely uncomfortable and activity limiting. Ergonomics, the study of efficiency in the workplace, can offer many solutions and adjustments for reducing the severity and frequency of these problems. Here I’d like to offer my own advice- Take 5 to stretch.
5 minutes in the mid-morning and 5 minutes in the afternoon to do these 3 simple stretches will go a long way to keeping your arms limber and pain free, hopefully for years.
1. Epicondylitis Stretch- Epicondyle is the medical term for the bony area of your elbow where your wrist and forearm muscles attach. You have a medial epicondyle for the muscles that flex your wrist and enable you to pronate (turn your palm toward the floor). You also have a lateral epicondyle for the muscles that extend your wrist and allow you to supinate (turn your palm up). In order to stretch these muscles, you should reach your arm out in front of you with your elbow straight and use your opposite arm to bend the wrist into flexion. Hold 20 seconds. Then, keeping your elbow straight, pull your wrist into extension. Hold 20 seconds. Repeat each way one more time.
2. Wrist Rotation- Keeping your wrist poised while typing all day can cause stiffness, pain, and contribute to carpal tunnel. To give your wrist a break, make a loose fist and rotate your wrists in circles for about 20 seconds. Go on to stretch your hands (exercise 3) then repeat for 20 more seconds.
3. Hand/Finger Stretch- Give your hands a break from typing, emailing, texting, tweeting, blogging, and data entering. For this stretch, you want to spread your hands and fingers out as wide as you can and then make a tight fist. Open your hand and widen your fingers then pull it back into a fist. Repeat about 10 times.
Three exercises. Five minutes. Make it part of your daily routine until it becomes a habit- just like brushing your teeth. I would be happy to see you in the office for any problem any time, but if I can help keep you healthy, that’s even better.
Tags: Association Executives of North Carolina’s Success, carpal tunnel, epicondylitis, hand/finger stretch, injury, sports medicine, stretch, tendenitis, wrist rotation
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