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Re: [AT-L] Re: [AT-L] Re:Walking Sticks vs Ski Poles

> What about people like me who sit at a computer all day and get 
> sore wrists. 
>  Would the poles contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome? 

I'm one of those people (most days anyway). We're going to separate Repetitive 
Strain Injury from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, though the two are related.

First, fill in the disclaimer of your choice...

Any motion completed in repetitious fashion will lead to some form of RSI. I 
don't believe that adjustable hiking staffs will create this sort of injury 
easily -- variation in terrain, length of swing, varying height of staff and 
the use of fairly large muscle groups means that motion isn't repetitive 
enough with small muscle groups to easily cause this sort of injury.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a specific form of RSI,  would be harder still. If you 
have very weak wrists (I don't, quite the opposite) you might be more prone to 
this sort of injury from hiking with a pole, because you do use the ligaments 
that run through the carpal tunnel. But the rate of relaxation to tension and 
the lack of need for extremely fine adjustment (I rarely found a need to point 
a pole in more than the most general way) leads to believe that this would not 
be an issue.

If you already have carpal tunnel swelling, or other problems with the major 
nerves that run up to the elbow, I would certainly be careful and check with 
your doctor or a specialist in sports medicine before trying these things out 
on a long hike.

I would also be careful about ensuring that any wrist strap is loose. Loose 
enough that no additional tension besides your grip (which I found could be 
very loose because the Leki SMs are very light) Hiking with mine, I didn't 
even put my hands through the loops. I realize that they are there in part to 
keep you from having to try and retrieve one, but I feel more comfortable 
without them around my wrists and only put them on when there was a drop off.

The reason I mentioned blisters at all is because of one of the methods I 
employed with the poles. Going down hill, I often put the palm of my hands on 
top of the staff as I lowered myself down off a rock or off some roots. This 
put the poles out in front of me somewhat and maximized my use of my upper 
body, and minimized my need to grip the poles with an iron fist. It worked 
great, except that I rubbed the right hand side of the pad of my thumb in 
gripping the top of the pole (as if there were a knob there). In combination 
with the rubber grips, and the somewhat soft skin there, a little wear on my 
thumb occured. I never noticed a hot sopt and I didn't notice anything until 
after I had taken a hot shower and noticed the top skin layer peeling. For me, 
I didn't think about this technique before I performed it, it just seemed the 
natural thing to do. I guess it could go either way, and I'm going to look 
into the cork top version as a possible solution.  I don't know whether it 
will be better or worse. Probably more than you wanted to know.

Please check with a specialist if you have a problem. I can ( and do) type all 
day without ever getting sore.

If your wrists are sore after a day of typing, my recommendation is to search 
out a solution. Daily soreness usually leads to much larger problems. There 
are alternative keyboards that improve the hand positions a great deal, and as 
some of my clients have done, you can switch over to the Dvorak pattern which 
really does make a lot more sense and improves the ease of typing. It takes a 
few months to get back into form, but pays large dividends after that.

Since this is no longer related to the AT, if you want more info I can point 
you to some sources on the web. Email me privately.


Daniel Berlinger                      Circumstance Technology
http://www.circumtech.com/                Virtuality Designer
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