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Injury Prevention & Confectionary Artistry

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Did you know that I was a physical & occupational therapist?Not only do I specialize in confections, I also specialize in human movement, exercise and adaptations. Well, let’s chat about some common injuries shall we?

Please note that this blog does not replace seeking the advice of your physician or physical/occupational therapist. These individuals will know about your specific medical history.

One thing about the wonderful world of baking, decorating and crafting is that it unfortunately has a risk for injury. Repetitive movement can lead to nerve impingement, strains and sprains. The difference between a strain and sprain is that a sprain involves ligaments and a strain involves a muscle. Some common injuries that you may be susceptible to as an artist include carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, cubital tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) and golfers elbow (medial epicondylitis). Please visit the links that are underlined to view a helpful information sheet about what these diagnoses are.

Some helpful tips from me, as a baker and healthcare professional, include working smarter not harder! Plan out your projects so that you are not spending hours on end to complete one project. A word to the wise, give yourself a break from your work every 30 minutes to stretch! Keep your wrist and neck in a neutral position as much as possible when you are working to avoid pressure on your nerves and muscles. Avoid sustained squeezing as this can also be irritating to your muscles and nerves. When possible, cut items in a softened state and\or make sure your knives and blades are sharp to decrease stress to your fingers, particularly the thumb. The thumb is a common place to have symptoms of arthritis, trigger finger and DeQervains Tenosynovitis.

If you are beginning to have symptoms such as tingling you may benefit from seeing your therapist for a consultation as this could be a sign of nerve impingement such as carpal tunnel. Wearing a splint (also known as an orthotic) at night or during activity may be beneficial to rest. These devices come in various sizes, materials and serve various purposes. Your physical or occupational therapist can appropriately fit you for a prefabricated (off the shelf) splint or even make custom splints if appropriate. There are special types of therapists that are highly skilled in treating the hand and are called a Certified Hand Therapist or CHT. These individuals passed rigorous training and an exam. They are referred to as a specialist, To find one in your area you may go to HTCC.org to Locate a specialist.

Your posture is important in preserving the integrity of your joints, nerves and muscles. Slouching can even impact your circulation. Low back pain is THE MOST common injury referred to physical therapy services. Some of these injuries occur due to poor lifting mechanics and posture.

Here is a link that reviews basic principles for proper lifting. Keep this in mind with those heavy groceries and craft tools.

Proper Lifting: Mayo Clinic

More to come in future blog posts about injuries, posture and helpful tips.

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