Carrying a water bottle on the run is a great way to ensure you stay properly hydrated to avoid dehydration and its dangerous results. However, what you may not think about is what carrying a water bottle is actually doing to your hand. If you run with water, there are some key things you need to know.
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“Running with a water bottle in your hand can lead to hand or wrist injury,” reveals Ira Lown, M.D. orthopedic hand and wrist specialist at Austin Hand Group. “This injury can be caused from the repetitive nature of running and the added weight of the water bottle. The tendons and muscles of the forearm and wrist have to absorb this added weight. This can lead to tendinitis or inflammation of the tendons.”
Because of this, if you feel any kind of pain, you should make a change and take some precautions. Dr. Lown suggests you first try different bottles or straps that help hold it in place in your hand. Also, he shares that icing and taking anti-inflammatory medication, such as Motrin, can be very helpful.
So when should you go see a doctor? If you’ve made all of those changes and pain is still continuing after a few weeks. He suggests a hand surgeon, specifically, as they can use other techniques such as splinting or occupational therapy to tread what most regularly turns out to be tendinitis.
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You absolutely don’t need to stop running with a handheld water bottle; in fact, it is great you are taking care of your hydration and fueling needs on the run. However, try a few bottles to see what works best for you.
“Use an ergonomic designed bottle or a bottle with a strap can take some of the load off of the tendons and muscles,” adds Dr. Lown. “I also recommend switching the bottle from one hand to another during the long run. This will give one arm/hand time without the added load to rest. Another idea is to carry water around the waist where the weight of this is distributed more evenly and tolerated better.”