Sunday, January 06, 2008

Buying tools that fit can keep you in shape

Ergonomic tools that help avoid RSI ...

"Tool manufacturers all over are taking great pains to ease the pain of our handyman work.

How? By creating a new generation of hand and power tools based on ergonomics -- the science of matching a tool to the person doing the job.

Although there are many new tools on the market labeled "ergonomically designed," some experts are quick to point out that there is no such thing as a mass-produced ergonomic tool. That makes sense, because a truly ergonomic tool fits one individual doing one job. Saying that one tool is ergonomically correct for all people and all jobs is like believing that one garment can fit people of all sizes and shapes.

Besides comfort, the driving force behind ergonomic design is reducing your risk of cumulative trauma disorders, or CTDs. These injuries result from poor tool design, awkward working positions and highly repetitive motions. I encountered all those problems recently, when I had to climb up and move the ladder to do the cut-ins as we painted the bedroom walls. However, the most common example of a cumulative trauma disorder is carpal tunnel syndrome.

You don't need to be a full-time tool user to risk injury from CTDs. Even office jobs, such as working at a computer, can build up inflammation in your arms and wrists. And you might go home to your rebuild and unwittingly continue to aggravate your tendons as you use your tools. When swollen tendons press against delicate nerves, the resulting pain tells you to rest or change your ways."    (Continued via Times-Picayune)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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