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Tips for fit and healthy hands
From FITBOOK | April 04, 2021, 6:16 p.m.
Let's be honest: are you exercising your hands? If so: great! If not, then you should start with it. Because washing and applying lotion alone is not enough - your hands need even more attention.
As long as they do not cause problems and are healthy, hardly anyone pays much more attention to their hands. And they deserve it, says orthopedist and author Michael Lehnert (“Hands good, everything is good”). In the interview, he describes exercises for stronger hands and explains why sheets can be a danger to the fingers.
The hands are moved less and less
Mr. Lehnert, wash your hands regularly, dry them well, apply lotion - isn't that enough when it comes to hand care?
Michael Lehnert: In any case, that's a lot and a good basic requirement. Before the pandemic, many didn't even do that regularly. This is important: the hands must remain supple, the protective acid layer must be maintained. But that's still not enough. The hand also needs muscle strength and flexibility. And both are perishing more and more because a lot has been made too easy for us in the last few decades.
Also interesting: after frequent washing! This is how you care for stressed hands
With blinds, you often only press a button instead of pulling the ribbon. Hardly anyone has to open their car with the key in the door lock. We have mixers in the kitchen. Even typing on the computer is much easier these days - with the earlier mechanical typewriters, you also needed power from your wrist. I don't mean to say that everything was better in the past, but nowadays we don't even need our hands for many activities.
Fist training ensures flexible hands
What would you recommend?
There are muscles in the hand, many are not even aware of that. An easy way to strengthen them is through fist training.
There is the big fist and the small fist. In the starting position, the elbows are upright, the fingers point upwards and the palms of the hands point towards each other. With the big fist one tries to claw the fingers as deep as possible into the palms of the hands. The fingernails should no longer be visible. With the little fist, you just roll up the fingertips and press them against the lower part of the fingers, the inner surfaces of the hands remain free. You always claw your fingers for about six seconds, thereby training your maximum strength.
To strengthen the saddle thumb joints, press the thumb on the little finger and then on the ring finger, for six seconds each time. Exercises like this keep your hands fit every day.
Also interesting: training grip strength - exercises for strong hands and forearms
What's the point of crumple balls?
They are terrible because they are usually not malleable enough. Therapy clay is much better - it's really called that and is completely malleable.
You also look after the Berlin Philharmonic. What needs and problems do professional musicians have?
They often hurt because they always do the same things, which often leads to muscular complaints. There are serious clinical pictures up to and including the fact that individual fingers no longer obey the head and the musicians can no longer perform certain movements. Musicians also often get carpal tunnel syndrome, when the median nerve of the hand is squeezed and the fingers become numb. And that's not good for your job: Even with the triangle, numb fingers are unfavorable.
Which sport causes particular wear and tear in the hand?
Clearly handball. On the one hand, handball players have the ball as a certain hazard, for example for finger injuries. But on the other hand, there is also the opponent as a risk, especially if he grabs his hand when throwing. In addition, a lot is recorded, for example when scrambling in a circle: there are tendon ruptures, capsular tears and broken bones. Most injuries, however, occur when the players fall to the ground after the throw and bump badly.
Also interesting: What you should definitely pay attention to in the event of a ligament tear
The effects of computer work and smartphones
Tendonitis is a real occupational disease in people who work a lot on computers. How do you prevent these and other problems?
It's very difficult at the moment. Because the very problems that lead to it have been intensified since many people have been working from home. Hardly anyone at home has the optimal desk, the optimal seat height, a good mousepad and a good keyboard. Those who do not work ergonomically often put more strain on their hands. This is an important tip to pay attention to.
In addition, you have to take breaks to get your hands out of the constant typing position. Five minutes an hour is enough to really stretch your fingers and stretch your forearms.
In your book you describe the ten greatest dangers to the hand. Cats, balls or fireworks light up. But what is the potential danger of mattresses?
That means more about the sheet. If you slide this down by the edge when you are covering the mattress, it is more common for a finger to get caught in it. The force that you exert can tear the tendon on the distal phalanx and sometimes a piece of bone breaks off. This is quite a common injury.
You also describe the smartphone as a risk factor. Why?
This is where the thumb is worst affected. Most use the smartphone with one hand and this puts an unnatural strain on the thumb joint. Because that is actually not designed for these wiping movements. It is much less stressful for the thumbs to operate the device with both hands.
Many people come to the office hours and already know what is going on. They say: “I have a cell phone thumb.” That increased during Corona because many more people use the messenger services to communicate than before.
Also interesting: are smartphones dangerous to our health?
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