Ergonomics refers to using equipment that helps us to use our body in its strongest or safest position. We want to do this to reduce risk of injury and to make sure we can continue to be independent long term. Good ergonomics can reduce the forces required to use an object. An example of this is an ergonomic knife. When we hold a normal knife, our wrist has to move down towards the little finger side. We are unable to keep our wrist straight. The ergonomic knife has a handle that bends up much like a saw handle. This allows you to hold the knife with reduced tension to ligaments and joints and might mean you can now do a task that before you couldn’t.
As Occupational Therapists, our skill is being able to break down tasks (task analysis) to work out how it can be done more efficiently and using your body in its strongest form. It is always important to acknowledge there is a difference between ideal and practical. What is recommended sometimes just can’t work out in real life. We are able to help problem solve to come to a solution. Doing a task is not just related to the grip you use, but how you stand/ sit/posture, how long you grip or whether it is repeated. We take into consideration who you are, what you do and how you do it so that we can help change things to allow you to keep your independence.