Hand Injury and Typing

A majority of jobs require you to use a computer for numerous hours a day, but as more people type on a computer, hand injuries due to improper keyboard use become more common. It starts with tingling or numbness in the hand, and become increasingly painful. One of the most common injuries is Repetitive Strain Injury.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is an injury which is caused by overusing the hands to perform repetitive tasks – typing, writing, or using a mouse. The pain felt in muscles, nerves, and tendons is caused by repetitive movement and overuse. The condition affects parts of the upper body, such as forearms/elbows, risks/hands, and necks/shoulders.  The first symptoms of RSI may include swelling, tenderness, pain, and stiffness.

Here are some risk factors associated with RSI:

  • Poor posture
  • Don’t take frequent breaks
  • Don’t exercise regularly
  • Work in a high-pressure environment
  • Use a computer for more than 2-4 hours a day

Here are some ways you can relieve hand pain.

  • Take frequent breaks every 30 minutes, if possible. Utilize techniques to stretch your hands and wrists.
  • Improve your posture. Sit tall in a comfortable position.
  • Don’t press too hard with your fingers on the keyboard. This could cause unnecessary strain.
  • Bring your keyboard and mouse close to the edge of the desk.
  • Make sure your chair is raised to the appropriate height so that your elbows are at 45 degrees.
  • Pay attention to the position of your hands.
  • Keep your fingernails short! Long fingernails make it more difficult to main a good typing position. Your typing position should be wrists straight, fingers down and slightly curved.
  • Avoid sitting cross-legged.

Even if you don’t work a desk job, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you too. Other occupations such as drivers, musicians, and dental hygienists are also at risk since those occupations require repetitive movements as well.

When you are in front of a computer for eight hours a day, preventative measures are important in order to prevent hand injuries. If you take the appropriate steps and your symptoms are still persistent, it is important to see a doctor immediately.


Written my Dami Falade

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Watson Scaphoid Shift Test

Video of the Week: Watson Scaphoid Shift Test

It’s the week we’ve all been waiting for! The Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association kicks off Wednesday February 17, 2016 in Anaheim, California. Nova Medical Centers is proud to be sending our physical therapy team!

Last week we introduced you to Rick Perez Supervising Physical Therapist at Nova Medical Centers in Corpus Christi, TX, as he demonstrated a Phase 1 Shoulder Mobilization.

This week we introduce you to Allen Holmes, Supervising Physical Therapist at Nova Medical Centers in Chattanooga, TN. He will be demonstrating a Watson Scaphoid Shift Test. Both men will be representing Nova at CSM 2016 with poster presentations.


Allen Holmes demonstrates a Watson Scaphoid Shift Test for patients with possible scaphoid lunate ligament instability who fell with an extended wrist.

Follow Nova Medical Centers on YouTube for more videos.

Keeping Shoulders Healthy

Tips for Keeping Your Shoulders Healthy

A shoulder injury is nothing to shrug about. The good new is that there are things you can do to better protect your shoulders and keep them functioning as they should.

The role of the rotator cuff

The rotator cuff plays a large role in how your shoulders work. It is a group of tendons and muscles in the shoulder, linking the upper arm to the shoulder blade. The rotator cuff tendons increase the shoulder’s stability and the muscles allow the shoulder to rotate.

Some jobs, such as construction, and other factors, such as simply getting older, increase the risk of rotator cuff injury. Tears to the rotator cuff are more common in people over 40 and in work that requires repetitive overhead motion such as lifting. Even athletes who use repetitive motions such as tennis players, swimmers or baseball pitchers are at risk for shoulder injury.


When your rotator cuff is injured, it can be painful and limit your range of motion. It may feel like an ache in your shoulder or you may find it hard to sleep if you lie on your shoulder. Some tasks that you used to do with ease, such as lifting your arm to brush your hair or reaching behind your back, are harder to do. You also may feel weakness in your arm. A rotator cuff can be damaged as a result of a significant tear or degenerate over time due to progressive wear and tear.

What to do

If your pain is short-lived then get it evaluated by your family doctor. See your doctor right away if you have a sudden loss of motion following an injury because you could have a significant rotator cuff tear. If your pain lasts more than a few weeks, or if you’ve received a diagnosis from a doctor that you have a rotator cuff tear, your next step will be to be evaluated by a shoulder specialist because some surgical procedures are time sensitive.

For a minor injury

-Simply resting your shoulder may be all that is needed to resolve a minor shoulder injury.

-Applying ice and heat is another tactic for treating your shoulder pain. Applying a cold pack to your shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes every three to four hours can reduce inflammation and pain. When the pain and inflammation have gotten better, you can use hot packs or a heating pad to relax tense or sore muscles.

-Using over-the-counter pain relievers such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or Naproxen Sodium (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help with the pain.


If your job involves lifting overhead or other repetitive motions that could lead to shoulder injury then it’s a good idea to make exercising your shoulders a regular part of your routine.


For some simple exercises to strengthen your shoulders, click here.