Ways of Reducing RSI for Busy Hairdressers

by rachael / last updated April 7, 2014

Ways of Reducing RSI for Busy Hairdressers

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is the bane of many hairdressers’ lives, mainly in the form of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) – a painful condition that can be extremely debilitating.

Choosing the right tools is one way of reducing RSI, and as the most commonly and consistently employed tools of the trade, scissors must be right for the user.

The carpal tunnel is the passageway formed by the eight bones of the wrist and the transverse carpal ligament which stretches across the roof of the tunnel. Inside the carpal tunnel are tendons which run down the muscles in the forearm and are used to flex fingers and thumbs.

Also running through the tunnel is the median nerve. CTS occurs when the median nerve is squeezed as a result of swollen tendons, leading to numbness, burning or tingling in the thumb and certain fingers and parts of the hand.

There are other causes, but CTS is linked to occupations that involve repetitive movement of the hand and wrist – including cutting hair. While it is not guaranteed to stem the condition, choosing the right scissors is vital – and each individual will require something different.

So what’s the best way to recognise a quality pair of scissors, and, more importantly, the best pair of scissors for an individual stylist? Brian Russell, managing director of Kasho Scissors offers the following advice…

Ways of Reducing RSI for Busy Hairdressers

  • Use sharp scissors – blunt blades require more effort which leads to strain;
  • Get scissors sharpened at least once a year;
  • Ensure scissors feel comfortable. Off-set scissors tend to offer the most comfort, but everyone is different;
  • Ensure scissors have a balanced weight – a blade-heavy pair may put unnecessary stress on the wrist;
  • Don’t over-tighten any adjustable tension screws. If scissors won’t cut without being tightened, they probably need a service.

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