Safe Hand and Wrist Movements

Topic Overview

Try to avoid hand and wrist movements that can cause pain and other symptoms.

  • Keep your wrists straight or only slightly bent. Avoid activities that bend or twist the wrists for long periods of time.
  • Take frequent breaks from typing or other repetitive activities to stretch your hands and wrists.
  • Avoid doing repetitive movements (hammering, typing, knitting, quilting, sweeping, raking, playing racquet sports, rowing) for long periods of time without rest breaks.
  • Avoid holding objects in one position for long periods of time (holding a book or playing cards).
  • Watch your grip. Gripping with only the thumb and index finger can stress the wrist. Whenever possible, use your whole hand to grasp an object.
  • Reduce the speed and force of repetitive hand movements.
  • When working with tools that vibrate (drills, sanders), use specially designed gloves that support the wrist and have vibration-absorbing padding. Take frequent breaks, and switch hands often.
  • Stop any activities that you think may be causing numbness and pain. If your symptoms improve when you stop an activity, resume that activity gradually. As you do, keep your wrists straight or only slightly bent.

If you suspect that your hand or wrist pain is work-related, you may need to talk with your workplace safety officer about changes in equipment or rotating some of your duties. Make sure that new work changes don't cause other wrist problems or make your condition worse.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Herbert von Schroeder, MD, MSc, FRCSC - Hand and Microvascular Surgery
Last Revised October 2, 2012

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