04 March 2012

Repetitive Motion Injuries: Chopping Board Shoulder?

Just one of the many projects that were
hand trimmed using the cutting board.
It seems most professions have some sort of physical repetitive motion injury potential: carpel tunnel syndrome for typists, back pain for heavy lifters, ankle tendonitis for drummers, tennis elbow for tennis players, leg burns for pole dancers, (I suspect). Who knows? For graphic designers--aside from computer keyboard use--I can't think of many other physical things we typically do on such a high volume, repetitive basis. So, just like in every sport or activity, when you don't use certain muscles frequently, they get out of shape. You don't even realize it until a particular project calls upon their use again. 

This is the case when a number a projects I worked on between late January until late February called attention to the topic for me. During that time, I designed a variety of bookmarks, invitations, event programs, and handbills. As I finished printing projects, each required me to trim them by hand, using a manual cutting board. By the time those four weeks passed, my shoulder was telling me it had a pretty good workout. Curious, I tallied up all the cutting I had done, discovering I had cut 2,146 separate items for 13 projects. That was a lot of cutting board paper chopping

And there is still more to do. 


  1. My coworker and I had a good laugh about this, but we thoroughly understand! People who work in places like construction, landscaping, etc. probably think those of us office workers can only get hurt by picking up a paperclip! Well, not so! And by reading your blog, I see we can add chopping-block syndrome to the list of injuries we, as office workers, can suffer. Great writing. Great work!

  2. Glad you had a good chuckle about this bookworm. I would have written about it sooner, but my fingertips were suffering from "keyboard desensitization." =P

  3. Wow! You better take care of yourself or I won't be able to read any more of your wonderful writings!