Here are some general rules for protecting your joints and decreasing pain. These are especially for people with arthritis but they are helpful for many other hand-related issues and general safety.
- Pay attention to your pain. If something you are doing hurts then stop and think about it. Are you reaching too far away from yourself? Is your arm in a weird position? Try doing the task differently and without pain. Only workouts from evil personal trainers should hurt.
- Use the right tools for the job. Don’t use a knife to open a can (unless you are stuck on a remote island with Les Stroud). Using the wrong tool just makes the job harder and can easily lead to injury.
- Keep the things you use the most within easy reach. If you are in love with you dutch oven then don’t store it on the bottom shelf in the farthest corner of you pantry. The less you have to move an item frequently used (especially a heavy one) the more your joints will thank you.
- Bigger is usually better. For the most part, tools with larger handles are easier on the joints. Try using a snow shovel with a small, hard handle and then use one with a bigger, padded grip. You will probably notice a difference. The bottom line is to try it out and use what feels comfortable.
- Take a break. It is great to be productive but doing the same activity for hours at a time will definately hurt later. Switch it up and let your body do something differnt. Insead of weeding for an hour spend your time switching between weeding and pruning. Better yet run inside and grab a glass of water.
This is a list in progress. Check back because more ideas will be added later.