With the warmer days comes more outside activities and the need to start working in the yard again after a long break. Many of us find ourselves cleaning up the winter yard debris that has collected over the past several months. Here are some helpful hints to protect your hands and arms as you prepare for the outdoor cleanup!
- Stretch! It only takes a few minutes, but stretching our shoulders, elbows, and wrists can prevent injuries.
- Wear gloves! Wearing gloves protects our hands from thorns, insect/ spider bites, and other sharp objects that can be hidden in a pile of leaves or ground cover.
- Use good body mechanics! When lifting heavier objects, keep the object and your elbows close to your body.
- Use both hands to lift whenever possible.
- Avoid repetitive stress! Repetitive gripping can lead to tendonitis or trigger finger.
- Use the right tool for the job! Avoid dull tools that require more force and grip.
- Use appropriate electric tools when possible.
- Lift lighter, smaller loads.
- Keep wrists straight when lifting and avoid lifting with hands in awkward positions.
- Take frequent breaks or break up yard work over several hours or several days for heavier or more intense work.
About the Author: Julie Freiner, OTL/R, CHT, is one of the most experienced certified hand therapists in the region. She practices in O’Fallon, MO and enjoys spending time with her family, playing volleyball and cheering on her kids’ sports teams.