Everyday activities require each of us to posses and maintain flexibility and stability. But as you become a Mom and after delivery, you quickly come to respect the existence of and need for both. After pregnancy your body is weaker in certain areas than before your body spent nine month accompdating the little one and often more flexible because certain hormones encourage ligaments and tendons to loosen during pregnancy to allow you to carry this new load sprung on your body. Thus, strength and flexibility training is important both before, during, and after delivery.
After you have a little one your body is put under a different load of work than ever before. Throughout the next few articles I will briefly address various issues that may arise during and after pregnancy due to relaxed tendons (as a result of hormones) and repetitive stress on certain muscles and tendons due to your “Mommy duties”. Today’s issue is commonly referred to as “Mommy Thumb”, “Baby Wrist”, or medically DeQuervain’s Tendonitis. But this injury isn’t limited to mothers, it can impact Daddy too, and any caregiver who spends hours with a baby.
How does one injure their wrist picking up something as light weight as a baby you ask?
Well it takes a little time and a lot of consistently. As a caregiver you are constantly handling your child — picking him up to feed, to hold, to rock, to play; and putting her down to change, to sleep, and to bathe. And with each of these tasks your hands are constantly being manipulated to function in ways that aren’t biomechanically correct or easy on your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. As you maneuver your hands and hold them in a static position repetitively throughout each day to stabilize and care for your baby, you consistently tax not only the tiny muscles and tendons in your hand but you unknowingly put stress and strain on the tendons too. And this repetitive stress lays the foundation for “Mommy Thumb”, “Baby Wrist”, or DeQuervain Tendonitis to rear its ugly head.
Repetitive stress, improper biomechanics, loosened or weak tendons the wrist area can cause inflammation and pain (sometimes excruciating). To be more specific — the synovial sheath that surrounds the tendons that run from your forearm to your thumb become inflamed and movement of the the enclosed tendons becomes restricted. The tendons no longer glide through this tunnel smoothly but sort of skid or skip their way through with each wrist movement illiciting pain and further inflammation.
How can this be prevented?
Well educating yourself on this injury is the first step, strengthening and stretching your wrists before becoming a baby caregiver is the second step, and should any inflammation start to make itself apparent while you are caring for a little one — begin treating it to prevent further inflammation as soon as possible. Included below are a few informational articles that mention treatment options and strength training excercises. Let us know if you have any questions about strength training and stretching the wrists and forearms to prevent and address wrist injury. And until then give your little one a hug from us and keep “Stretching Your Life” by maintaining flexibility and optimal movement!!!