As any professional dog groomer will tell you, at some time in their grooming career they will suffer with repetitive strain injury with wrist and arm pain caused by the constant scissoring action to cut a multiple of dogs per day.
The repetitive strain is better known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and can be extremely painful with tingling and burning in the fingers with pain travelling up the forearm and into the shoulder. Numbness will then develop, with weakening of the muscles in severe cases.
How can you help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
As with any thing that you wear or use on your body it should always be fitted by a professional advisor. Just like when you purchase a new pair of shoes or a motorcycle helmet. If the item does not fit you correctly, then it is only going to cause you further problems long term.
When purchasing scissors, it is imperative that you study how the scissor is put together. Choosing the right handle is wise with short or off set shanks (crane handle) being the best choice to help ease wrist and arm pain. If you take the Sensei 7.5” Classic Scissor it features a wide contact thumb ring that cradles your thumb for better comfort and control. It also offers a work safe crane handle to help reduce repetitive strain by cutting with the elbow down with the scissor placing your hand in a neutral position, allowing your thumb to move easier.
But with any scissor it is imperative that the scissor fits your hand and not your hand fitting the scissor. I am always amazed at the number of professional groomers that work with badly fitting shears. Most notably with their thumb through the thumb hole, which in turn puts excess pressure onto the thumb and Carpal Ligament. Always make sure that finger inserts are placed within the thumb and finger holes. If you feel the need to double up on the inserts, do so, as this will help with the strain plus it will give you a better feel when scissoring.
To measure what size finger inserts your scissor require, you need to measure inside the finger and thumb hole.
Exercises you can do to help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
1. If you are a student groomer, we always recommend that at night when you are sitting watching TV, get your scissors out and sit and exercise your hand with the scissor. The scissoring action will be alien to your hand at first, so that is why you should get it in trim before you start running your business, so it gets use to the action.
2. Do some hand and finger stretching exercises before you start grooming everyday to warm up your muscles.
3. Stretch your arm, keep your elbow straight and have your fingers facing the floor. With your other hand apply gentle pressure to the other downward facing hand. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat.
4. Exercise regularly and keep a healthy weight.
5. Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water.
6. Consider wearing a wrist support or a splint.