At the moment a lot of people at work seem to be struggling with wrists, backs, knees and hands.
When I first started digging for uni back in ’09 I would dig for the couple of months over the summers and I could guarantee that every year around 2-3 weeks in my right wrist would give up the ghost. I spent a teen life working through repetitive strain injuries, sprains and tendonitis. I also used to get slight pain in my lumber if I over exerted myself a bit much.
But. Since I started digging full time I haven’t had any problems. My back feels strong, my wrist hasn’t given up on me once in 3 years, the only thing that has occurred is twisting my elbow when I’ve been spading out some uber-heavy clay and it hasn’t come off the end of the spade, causing the suddenly unexpected weight to drag my arm in an odd direction. But no repeat injuries, nothing that seems to stem from weaker joints/ligaments/tendons etc.
I’ve noticed its not just me. We’ve got a fair few people on site at the moment who have been out of the field for a few months, most of them academics, so not really used to full bore and slog of a commercial dig as it is. But yes, lots of complaints on site of the aforementioned wrists, backs, knees and hands! So much so that masseurs are being sort every which way!
I am amazed, without even realising, how much being an archaeologist full time has changed my body. From weight loss to strength.