Massage Therapist Self-Care: To Reduce Injury Risk, Avoid Pinch Grips, MASSAGE MagazineGripping between the fingers and thumbs is one of the greatest risk factors for thumb, hand and wrist injury. Because pinch grips involve such small muscles, using even a small amount of force can increase your risk of injury.

Just 2 pounds of pinch force, about the amount required to open a clothespin, can result in microtrauma and eventual injury if that force is sustained or repeated often enough.

Several petrissage techniques call for gripping between the thumb and the fingers or palm, and should therefore be used sparingly. Whenever possible, grasp tissues between the base of the index finger and the first phalange of the thumb, rather than the tip of the thumb.

Compression of thinner sheets of muscle, such as the upper trapezius or external obliques, is sometimes performed using a pinch grip. Instead, grasp the tissue between the palm and fingers. You may need to reposition yourself in relation to your client to keep your wrist straight as you do this technique.

Save Your Hands, MASSAGE MagazineReproduced with permission from Save Your Hands! The Complete Guide to Injury Prevention and Ergonomics for Manual Therapists, Second Edition, , C.E.A.S., and Richard W. Goggins, C.P.E., L.M.P., © 2008 Gilded Age Press. For more information, visitwww.saveyourhands.com. Read their blog here.

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