In a previous blogpost, we shared pediatric occupational therapist Laura Faye Clubok’s words from her experience at Lucky Fin Weekend. She showcased EaZyHold at the event and was so inspired and joyful seeing Lucky fin kids playing and having fun and being their total selves. Laura, who owns On the Other Hand Therapy, mentioned how EaZyHold can help kids with limb differences use both sides of their bodies and ultimately prevent something called Overuse Syndrome. We wanted to take this opportunity to talk more about what Overuse Syndrome is and how to prevent it.
Overuse Syndrome is otherwise known as Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS) or Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). It occurs when a person has consistent repetitive, high force, or awkwardly positioned motion in a particular part of the body over a long period of time. This causes strain to the muscles, tendons, bones, and ligaments. It often affects the hands and arms and can cause fatigue, pain, loss of function, swelling, and numbness (Cleveland Clinic).
Those with upper limb differences are naturally more prone to repetitive strain injury due to a heavy reliance on the functional limb (On the Other Hand Therapy).
There are several things that can be done to prevent Occupational Overuse Syndrome for yourself or your child.
Encourage symmetry by using both sides of the body. This can be enabled by a prosthesis, which improves body mechanics and muscle alignment (Arm Dynamics). A more low tech and cost effective way of promoting symmetry is by using EaZyHold straps. These enable the limb-different side to hold onto tools for daily living activities such as drawing, writing, brushing teeth, cooking, and playing sports.
It is also very helpful to seek professional help from an occupational therapist. An OT can provide functional training to use the limbs in a way that promotes healthy biomechanics.
Another great tip on prevention from On the Other Hand Therapy:
“When your child begins to use technology, adapt the technology to your child rather than adapting the child to the technology!”
Managing and Treating Overuse Syndrome
Existing Overuse Syndrome can be treated in a number of ways. This includes injections, warm/cold contrast baths, splints, and gentle exercise (Cleveland Clinic).