Knowing how to protect your hands from the hazards of daily life can be incredibly important. That’s because we don’t always recognize these hazards as hazards–typing on a computer is not something we typically feel is all that dangerous to do. But many hand injuries are the results of repetitive motion. So it’s worth taking a minute to think about how to protect your hands from your day-to-day life.
The Benefit of Knowing How to Protect Your Hands
Knowing how to protect your hands probably isn’t something you were ever expecting to need to know, unless you were some kind of MMA fighter or something. But hands are funny little things–so valuable, so important, and yet so fragile. In part, that’s because it takes a lot of machinery to get your hands and fingers to work as well as they do.
There are lots of bones and muscles and tendons and ligaments all working together in your hands. But it’s not as though all of that machinery is particularly well protected. That’s because your skin needs to be relatively thin around your hands in order to enable you to actually feel things with your fingers.
That can make your hands remarkably effective as natural devices (where would we be without opposable thumbs?) But it also means that your hands are somewhat vulnerable. One good slice with a knife while you’re chopping onions or whack with a hammer when you’re hanging shelves can do significant damage. So knowing how to protect your hands, even on a daily basis, can really keep your digits safe in the long run.
Protecting Your Hands During the Day-to-Day
There are two basic conditions under which you need to protect your hands: during day to day tasks and when you’re doing something particularly treacherous. The day to day tasks are a little easier to handle, protection-wise, but harder to follow through on. That’s because the day to day doesn’t seem all that dangerous.
But there are very serious injuries that can happen during the course of your daily life, during your simple routines. This is how you can help protect your hands:
- When chopping vegetables (such as onions… you know what a vegetable is), always keep proper hand posture. Your thumb should be drawn in behind your fingers, and your fingers should be flexed inward.
- Many household hand injuries involve repetitive motion. If you engage in work or crafts or arts that involve many repetitive gestures or movements, ensure you’re taking the time to stretch your fingers.
- Wear proper gloves when gardening or doing yard work. You’d be surprised how many hand injuries are caused by nothing more serious than a thorny bush you weren’t paying attention to.
There are, of course, even more ways to protect your hands during your day-to-day life. Whatever action you take, it’s important to be cognizant of the role your hands play. Take a little time to pamper and protect them.
Protecting Your Hands During Less Usual Activities
Sometimes it’s not the day to day that injures your hand. Sometimes it’s the table saw you weren’t paying enough attention to. There are some ways that you can protect your hands from these kinds of accidents as well:
- Always, always, always wear proper protection. When operating power tools of any kind, this usually means eye protection, of course, but it also means gloves. These gloves can protect your hands if something goes wrong.
- Avoid the use of alcohol or other medications when operating hand tools (this should go without saying).
- Read the instructions. Many of the power tools or devices produced today have incredible safety features, but it’s really up to the operator to understand how those safety features work.
- Take things nice and slow. Whatever job it is you’re doing, you don’t want to rush it too much, even if you’re in a hurry. Your hands will thank you.
I know a lot of that might sound like common sense. But it’s important to emphasize that taking care of your hands requires vigilance. So it’s never a bad idea to repeat those steps that can minimize injury, even if they seem a little obvious.
What if Your Hand Gets Injured?
If you suffer a hand injury of any kind, you should seek medical treatment immediately. Obviously, the severity of the injury will dictate the speed at which you’ll need to find treatment (and this article should not be used as a substitute for medical advice). Once you get your injury treated, it’s possible you’ll need to consult with a hand surgeon in order to repair the damage.
That’s because much of the damage from hand injuries can be internal–tendons and ligaments and nerves and so on. A hand surgeon–who specializes in treating hand injuries–is often the best person to seek for treatment of chronic or acute injuries. But protecting your hands–and knowing how to protect your hands–in the first place is often the better way to go. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say.