More than ever people are spending long hours in front of a computer, which in the long run can lead to wrist pain from typing. Whether at work or home, learning the correct techniques to maintain wrist health is a must. In this article, we’ll cover the reasons why typing can hurt your wrist and what you can do to avoid wrist pain.
Wrist pain can be caused by multiple conditions and injuries. If your wrists hurt when you type then you likely have an injury or condition that is being exacerbated by your repetitive motions. The best thing to do is to let your wrist rest for a while to see if the pain subsides. If that doesn’t relieve your pain then it’s time to look at specific causes and how you can find targeted pain relief for each one. Below are the most common causes of wrist pain when typing.
Wrist tendonitis is a condition where the wrist tendons in the arm and wrist become swollen and inflamed. These tendons rub against bony prominences, where they come together, or cross. Repetitive motions and injuries can cause this condition creating pain. Typing can exacerbate the condition or even cause it.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that is common in people who perform repetitive movements like typists and painters. It is caused by a compression of the median nerve that runs through a small space in your wrist. Typing can cause strain on the tendons in the wrist, which will swell and cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
Also called ulnar nerve entrapment, this condition is caused by nerve compression in the elbow. It produces numbness and tingling in the hands. Bending the elbow is one of the main causes of this syndrome, making keyboarding a risk factor.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two main subtypes of arthritis that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. If you suffer from one of these conditions then typing can aggravate them and cause further pain.
For some people, they will never find the underlying cause of their wrist pain from typing. In these cases, it is likely due to just plain overuse. When the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the wrists and arms are constantly strained it can produce swelling and pain. Typing uses very specific movements over and over again. Making it a prime candidate for causing overuse injuries.
One of the best ways to avoid wrist pain from typing is to avoid poor posture and adapt ergonomic desk tools. Here are some practical ideas for you to bring into your everyday work routine that can make a serious difference in preventing wrist pain.
Your computer keyboard needs to be a height where your forearms are parallel to the floor and your elbows can hang at your sides. To achieve this perfect height, you may need to adjust your chair or table height.
The mouse position should be at your side with your forearm straight from elbow to wrist. Position the mouse so you don’t have to extend your hand to reach it but not so close that you drop your elbow down to grab it.
To avoid wrist strains and sprains from typing it’s important to keep your wrists in a neutral position. This means that the wrists are not bent upward or downward while typing. Avoid resting your wrists on the keyboard while you type. Feel free to set them down to rest every now and then but they shouldn’t stay there when you resume typing.
When typing avoid bending your hand to type in awkward key combinations. Stretch your fingers before, during, and after a long typing session. It gives your fingers a break and helps the blood flow. Take off any jewelry that is tight or gets in the way of your typing.
Proper posture for typing doesn’t stop at the arms. Sitting up straight with your shoulders back is an important position to maintain to avoid shoulder and back pain. Your head should be positioned so that the computer screen is eye level and chin is parallel to the floor. Use a lumbar support to help keep the spine’s natural curve.
One of the best ways to avoid any overuse injury is to take frequent breaks. Set a timer to remind yourself to stop typing and let your arms drop at your sides. Shake out your hands and wrists and give them a good stretch.
If you find that modifying your position doesn’t help to avoid wrist pain or if you are looking to take extra strides in prevention then a wrist brace is the next step. A splint or brace will either immobilize or greatly minimize wrist movement. This will allow your wrist to heal and avoid further injury. If you need to wear a brace while typing look for one that allows full finger movement.
Ergonomic keyboards and mouses are specifically designed to minimize wrist strain by keeping your wrists and arms in a neutral position. While these devices can reduce your risk of developing wrist pain, they may not entirely stop it from happening. There are multiple types of ergonomic options on the market, make sure you do your research and find one that works best for your office set up.
Learning how to avoid wrist pain from typing will prevent short and long term wrist injury. With some simple keyboard and mouse changes, along with proper posture, you will decrease the likelihood of conditions that lead to wrist pain. Always talk to your doctor if you are experiencing pain and need medical advice or attention.
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