Being located on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, we commonly find ourselves treating hand injuries related to pruning. Unfortunately, pruning often involves working within a cold environment, repetitive forceful movements against resistance, awkward postures and little task variation, often resulting in common injuries listed below. On this page we have provided some tips and tricks that you can implement to help avoid injuries while pruning, whether it be on a vineyard or in your own backyard…
Common Injuries related to pruning include:
- Soft tissue bruising
- Simple lacerations
- Cramping to hand and forearm
- Overuse tendinitis – such as De Quervains, Flexor Tenosynovitis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Trigger finger/thumb
1. Gloves – for warmth and padding around the base of the thumb (i.e. cycling glove).
2. Warm up stretches before, during and after work day (see below).
3. Have secateurs correctly sized for your hand before starting.
4. Use padding on handles to minimise mechanical pressure over the base of the thumb and the carpal tunnel and increasing the diameter of the handle.
5. Keep the secateurs sharp (i.e. hourly sharpening when doing counting and review of vines).
6. Break every hour for 3 – 5 minutes while doing count and review of vines – stretch/shake/hydrate
7. Rotate or alternate tasks as much as possible.
What to look for in your Secateur’s?
- They should be sized for you according to your hand size.
- They should have a curved handle to minimise mechanical pressure at the base of the thumb.
- They should be sharpened regularly throughout the working day.
- Try to avoid cheap hardware store secateurs.
Other Useful Tips and Tricks:
- Alternate pruning on harder woods (i.e. Chardonnay/Cab sav) with softer woods (i.e. Pinot noir)
Alternate cane pruning with spur pruning if possible (i.e. use of short handled loppers with the secateurs).
- Remember the need to do warm ups/stretches increases as the temperature decreases
- Remain well hydrated.
- Changing posture can help with fatigue whilst you continue to do the same task.
If you require a consultation with one of our Hand Therapists please call or email us at Peninsula Hand Therapy.
Additionally, if you found this information beneficial at PHT we offer practical workshops for your workplace, gives us a call if you are interested.