Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ergonomics in the Home ...

Avoiding musculoskeletal pain when using everyday things ...

"Ergonomics in the Home ...
Hand and musculoskeletal pain is the bane of every dentist’s existence. We try to avoid muscle aches and pains by using proper posture, instrumentation techniques, ergonomic instruments, and periodic stretching at work. Nevertheless, pain still plagues us. We forget that the tasks we perform at home such as cleaning, cooking, home repairs, and caring for children also contribute to musculoskeletal aches and pains over time. Therefore, we must consider the cumulative effects of our work-related and non-work-related risk factors to prevent hand and musculoskeletal pain.

Ergonomics in the kitchen

The motions involved in cutting, chopping, stirring, and picking up pots and pans involve static grasps on kitchen utensils with the fingers bent and the wrist deviated toward the little finger. This deviated, static position creates strain on the flexor tendons in the hand and creates pressure across the wrist. To minimize strain, we strive to:

• keep the wrist straight;
• minimize the force requirements of the task; and
• use our strongest muscles to accomplish the task.

Many ergonomic kitchen tools are designed with longer, larger handles to distribute pressure over a larger area of the hand and keep the wrist straight. Ergonomic scissors are designed with a handle that is extended through the palm and rubber-coated with padding. Ergonomic knives (Fig. 2) incorporate a pistol grip, a vertical handle that places the wrist in neutral and allows the arm muscles to provide the cutting motion and strength. Ergonomic peelers have a large-diameter, padded handle that eliminates hard edges and provides a larger gripping surface. Table 1 summarizes further recommendations to make cooking more comfortable and less taxing on the hands and body. The OXO brand of kitchenware is designed to minimize hand forces and awkward postures."    (Continued via Woman Dentist Journal)    [Ergonomics Resources]

Ergonomic Scissors - Ergonomics

Ergonomic Scissors

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