We often use our fingers as a multi-tool, so they take a lot of wear and tear on a daily basis. Typing, texting, playing sports, various chores and tasks – these all take a toll on the fingers, from the bones to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It’s probably not a possibility for you to simply stop using your hands altogether, but you can give your fingers a break from the damage you may have been unknowingly doing to them.
Computer work is one of the most damaging things we do to our fingers over time, but unfortunately it’s something most of us can’t avoid – for work or for pleasure, we spend part of each day on the computer. Even minor repetitive tasks such as clicking a mouse or using the keyboard can add up to painful strain on the complex network of muscles, cartilage, and connective tissue that make up the hands and wrists. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the result of pinched nerves in the wrists, which cause swelling and radiating pain through the palm and fingers; it’s often the result of excessive typing or poor typing posture. Using a padded rest for your wrists as you type can help prevent finger pain from occurring and ease existing pain.
Many people, especially children, injure their hands during athletic activity such as contact sports or those that involve catching and throwing, such as baseball and basketball. And many people don’t take the appropriate time to rest and recover these injuries; getting back to playing too soon, even with gear like a brace, wrap, or splint, puts you at risk for worsening the injury or developing another. Take the time to rest and ice fingers as needed before getting back to normal activity; you can also take over the counter pain relievers to help keep swelling to a minimum.
Constant phone use, notably texting, can also lead to painful symptoms in fingers, especially in the thumbs; the cramped positioning strains the joints. Try using auto-dictation or reducing your phone typing by answering emails on a computer.
Making some minor changes to your habits can help prevent and reduce finger pain and damage.