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Is it possible to Avoid RSI and Carpal Tunnel in Dog Grooming?

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

Scissoring day in and day out, can contribute to RSI and Carpal Tunnel when dog grooming. But how can you avoid it? In this article we explore how it can be avoided to prevent injuries in the first place.

There are many industries that suffer with RSI, Repetitive Strain Injury. But one that stands out, is dog grooming. The constant movement of the thumb can cause a tingling sensation that can cause debilitating pain, but there are many contributing factors that can cause such injuries when dog grooming.

First, using the incorrect length and shape of scissor that are not ergonomically designed for a repetitive cutting action can contribute. Next is your posture, standing all day when your back and shoulders are arched and thirdly if you are using a pair of scissors that are blunt and dull can cause Carpal Tunnel.

Listen to your body and if you are starting to get pains in the wrist, elbow, shoulder of back, then it is time to adjust your posture and the scissors that you are using.

What is Carpal Tunnel?

Carpal Tunnel is a condition that causes pain in the wrist. The pain can travel through the elbow up to the shoulder as a result of being left untreated. Carpal Tunnel is nerve damage or RSI that causes pain so severely, it could stop you from working. Apart from the obvious signs, the best way to get diagnosed is by seeing your doctor.

What is RSI, Repetitive Strain Injury?

Repetitive Strain Injury is very similar to Carpal Tunnel, but it effects other areas of your body. RSI, could mean sore fingers, back, neck, legs and feet. In time a RSI can turn into something serious, and if left, it can be unbearable to work with. Before you get to this point, look at changing your habits, get an anti-fatigue mat and take time for yourself.

What scissors should I use to help with Carpal Tunnel?

Scissors come in all shapes and sizes, with various different shaped handles (shanks). Understanding the difference will help you make better choices, when it comes to avoiding Carpal Tunnel. An ergonomic designed scissor puts the least amount of strain onto your hand, arm and shoulder when cutting. There are a number of different ergonomic styles:

  • Off Set

  • Swivel

  • Crane handles

  • Bent thumb

A Crane Handle Scissor

Off Set or Crandle Handles allow the finger and thumb to move in order to completely grip the scissor. An Opposing grip is where both the thumb and finger ring are the same length.

A Opposing Open Scissor

A bent thumb or a drop down thumb ring, allows the dog groomer to straighten the wrist and drop the shoulder and elbow. This helps prevent stress to the arm, helping some comfort towards Carpal Tunnel.

Other ways to avoid RSI and Carpal Tunnel

Unnecessary stress on the body could be avoided by doing a few simple steps and changes, instead of changing your scissors.

Posture Positioning your body when scissoring is very important. Many dog groomers stand very rigid, with hunchbacks while bending over a particularly low grooming table. When scissoring, the action should come from the hips and the scissors should follow the angulation of the dog. Practice by standing in front of a wall, ghost scissor by moving your hips and follow the curvature.

Scissor Maintenance Not keeping your scissors sharp and well maintained will mean your scissor will go blunt, causing you strain when scissoring. It is also important to make sure your scissor tensioning is set correctly, too loose or too tight can cause further strain. For great advice with some amazing tips, click here to read about Why it's bad to have blunt scissors.

Standing on your feet too long

Dog grooming can be hard work, with some groomers doing up to 8 dogs per day on their own. When we are busy we forget to take time for ourselves, and don't notice we have been on our feet all day. Being aware of your body and the early signs is a great way to help prevent RSI and reduce excessive strain.

Be aware of your body when dog grooming

As dog groomers you really need to take care of your body when scissoring. It's never too late to change your habits so you can still enjoy scissoring in years to come. We hope by reading this blog you have picked up some hints and tips to prevent Carpal Tunnel and RSI.

Here are some great products to support your welfare.


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