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Common repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) like tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tennis elbow are commonly associated as athletic or recreational activity related risks.

However, new parents are at risk for developing these same injuries.

Chad McCann, a Tacoma physical therapist at 3Dimensional Physical Therapy & Sports Conditioning, said this is because parenting an infant or toddler is physically demanding, and performing everyday tasks can often lead to a similar level of discomfort. Lifting, carrying, reaching, twisting, and sustaining awkward positions — parents perform these physical motions several times a day, which can make them susceptible to suffering RSIs.

“It’s the wear and tear of being a parent,” McCann said in a statement. “Parents will hold, carry, rock, and lift their babies dozens of times each day. No matter who you are, these repetitive motions performed daily for weeks and months can and will take a toll on the body.”

McCann offers tips for parents and caretakers on how to prevent injuries while performing tasks like lifting the baby from the crib and carrying a car seat. These tips are based on the guidelines provided by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

McCann suggests, for example, when lifting a baby from the crib, lowering the crib railing to its lowest setting, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, and bringing the baby close to your body before lifting. Then, lower with your back arched and lift with the legs, he said. This will alleviate pressure on the back rather than lifting and holding the baby away from your body.

Overall, McCann advises that strong abdominal, back, pelvic, and hip muscles can reduce the risk of developing RSIs. 3Dimensional Physical Therapy & Sports Conditioning specializes in rehab for musculoskeletal injuries involving the foot and ankle, knee and hip, back, and shoulders. The physical therapy team offers one-on-one sessions for strengthening these muscle groups as well as assessing and treating current injuries and conditions.

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