Carpal Tunnel is one of the most widely known hand conditions. The tingling and numbness sensation in the hands and wrists are a classic sign of the syndrome that millions across the United States are familiar with. Whether you’ve already been seeking treatment for the condition, you’re trying to wait it out or your symptoms are recently developing, there’s no denying that certain repeated actions and fine movements will make Carpal Tunnel unavoidable.
In this blog, we will be discussing some of the common summertime activities that you may not realize are making your Carpal Tunnel symptoms flare-up!
The trees are green, flowers are blooming and the sun is shining. Summer is here! Tending to the yard is a classic summertime chore to keep your lawn and garden looking nice and keeping your neighbors from complaining. Cutting the grass comes with it’s own share of hazards (read more about lawnmower safety here) but gardening in particular is one of the biggest summertime culprits leading to CTS symptoms. The fine motor, repetitive movements while gardening, such as digging with small shovels, raking, pulling weeds and spreading seeds, are classic movements that contribute to Carpal Tunnel. While these actions may be unavoidable, selecting more ergonomic tools that fit well in your hands and paying attention to the movements you make with them could significantly reduce the risk or severity of your CTS flare-ups.
Be mindful of other harmful gardening hand hazards. Cuts and scrapes from trees, rough plants and tools can be painful on their own, but they can also lead to infections if not tended to right away. Wearing gardening gloves is always a good idea while working in the yard.
Now home renovations are not strictly considered a summer activity, but there are several reasons people choose to spruce up the house during the warmer months. Getting ready for a graduation party, purchasing a new home to renovate, tending to a summer cottage and fixing fences and decks are just some of the construction projects that take place during the summer months. The gripping and use of small tools during these jobs can make your hands sore and swollen, paired with the repeated turning movements can increase your Carpal Tunnel pains.
However, the biggest culprit of home renovation activities leading to a surge in Carpal Tunnel symptoms tends to come from painting. Whether painting with a brush or roller, changing paint colors involves tight grips and fine repeated movements at the wrist, a classic recipe for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. To help avoid worsening your symptoms, take frequent breaks, stretch your hands and wrist and wear a brace or wrap for extra support while painting for long periods of time.
Water sports are some of the most common activities during our hottest season. The cool water offers relief from the high temperatures and blistering sun. Boating is considered a leisure activity with minimal risk and swimming is a low impact exercise that is great for your joints. With most water hobbies being relaxing and recreational, it comes as a surprise to most that paddling can lead to a great deal of Carpal Tunnel pain. Kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and even rowing are all contributors to the hand tingling and numbness that Carpal Tunnel brings because these sports involve frequent wrist action with little to no rest. Paddling exercises rely on stroke movements for long periods of time, putting stress on the hands and wrist and easily leading to persistent hand pain.
Changing your paddling technique, purchasing a different paddle more appropriate for your body, restricting wrist movements and taking breaks whenever possible are all potential solutions to finding relief from your CTS symptoms while enjoying your time on the water.
Carpal Tunnel is far from the first condition that comes to mind when thinking about bicycle injuries. However, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome among cyclists is more common than you would think. Avid bike riders may start to notice hand and wrist pain while riding consistently for long distances. This discomfort is due to posture while holding the handlebars and nerve compression from constantly gripping. The pain and numbness from your Carpal Tunnel flare-up can not only make your ride less enjoyable, but it can also be dangerous, particularly if you begin to lose your grip while riding on uneven trails.
Fear not! There are some precautions cyclists can take to combat the symptoms affecting your bike ride. Wearing padded gloves can help reduce pressure from gripping the handlebars. Proper posture is key, with wrists straight, elbows bent and keeping your body loose. And don’t forget to give your hands and wrists a good stretch before and after your ride!