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