Common hand issues for new mommies

 

Common hand injuries new mothers are susceptible to include: deQuervains tenosynovitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and lateral epicondylitis.

  • Pain and/or swelling on the outside of the elbow, front of the wrist, or thumb side at the back of the wrist. Feeling of loss of strength.

  • Increased pain while forming a fist, grasping or holding objects, or turning the wrist

  • A snapping or catching feeling when moving the thumb, or fingers.

  • Tingling in fingers, numbness and/or radiating pain into arm and shoulder.

There are many reasons these problems develop and they include:

  • Hormonal changes

  • Inherited factors

  • Injuries and Medical Conditions

  • Work/Task related causes: repetition, high force, awkward joint posture, direct pressure and prolonged constrained posture.

How to manage problems as they develop:

  • Use ergonomically designed equipment and practice ergonomic technique when handling infants.

  • If possible limit or avoid aggravating activities

  • Wear an elbow, wrist or thumb/wrist brace to rest injured areas. Performing stretching and use ice or contrast baths to relief pain and inflammation. Seek medical attention if problem persists.

Tasks required of new mothers to feed and care for their infants and recommended positioning:

  • Burp your baby over your shoulder.

  • Use nursing support such as a feeding pillow. Sit in a reclined position so that the baby's weight can be held by your body and larger joints versus shoulders, arms and strained hands. If you are using a pump, consider using the express electronic pumps that are easier on hands and fingers than manual pumps.

  • Keep the crib mattress height as high as safely possible, based on the baby's development. Move all mobiles and toys out of the way, lower the crib rail, and lift the baby with two hands.

  • When lifting the baby from the floor or baby seat, keep wrists in a straight position and avoid pulling up in the direction of the thumbs.

  • When holding and rocking the baby keep your wrists straight and in neutral position. Hold the baby's head closer to the neck versus higher up on the head. Walk slowly, rock gently and switch your arms and position as needed to avoid getting stiff or sore. If you're sitting down, use a lap pillow for support.

  • When carrying car seats and/or baby carriers, make sure the handle is lengthwise with the carrier so that your hand and forearm are in neutral -- the thumb-forward position -- instead of the palm of your hand facing forward.

  • Think about all your daily tasks and how to approach them more ergonomically to prevent injury.