Time behind the wheel can lead to wrist problems

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Time behind the wheel can lead to wrist problems

Ambulatory veterinarians and commuters can benefit from simple modifications.
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Aug 05, 2008
By dvm360.com staff
If you thought the only way you'd get carpal tunnel syndrome was hours at a computer keyboard, think again. Your daily commute or, if you're a mobile veterinary practitioner, the hours you spend between calls can contribute to wrist and arm pain. It's all about the grip, says Jennifer Valle, an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

"Repeated, prolonged gripping of anything can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome," Valle says. There's good news, however: Modifying your grip and other small changes can make a difference. Here are tips to make drive time 100 percent wrist-safe:

> Keep your hands in line with your elbow and your wrists straight.

> Think of the steering wheel as a clock, and keep your hands at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock.

> If you're inclined to drive with one hand, switch the hand that grips the wheel. Periodically use your left hand and then switch to your right.

> Find yourself awkwardly holding a cell phone to the side of your head while driving? That's bad for the wrist, too. Wear an earpiece or bring a ride-along technician to take your calls (he or she gets an earpiece, too).

> Still twisting your wrists in odd directions while driving? Consider buying wrist splints, available at most pharmacies. They'll keep your wrists in a straight position and help you avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.

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