Tips to Prevent Hand & Wrist Injury at Work

November 10, 2020

Tips to Prevent Hand & Wrist Injury at Work


Have you ever felt intense pain, tingling, or soreness in your wrist after a long day's work at the office? In this era of modern technology, with excessive smartphone texting & computer use, it is no wonder that more and more people experience hand and wrist pain. What are the cause? Can it become serious? How to prevent further injury?


Typing Pains

Have you been noticing severe pain & soreness on your wrists after typing madly away for hours straight at the office? Although many people blame computer usage as the main culprit for their wrist pain or injury, the fact is, it's not the electronic device's fault. Rather, the issue stems from how you use these devices and if you already have certain underlying health conditions (such as arthritis) or have had previous hand/wrist injuries. When you have those kinds of issues going on along with repetitive keystrokes, it could make symptoms worse.

Another cause for wrist pain is actually our own fault. What does that mean? Well, the fact is that although most people who work in an office setting may be very familiar with how to use their computers, most don't  actually know how to correctly use their keyboard or mouse. When we use these tools incorrectly over long periods of time, that is what causes damages to the wrist and the ensuing pain that follows. If you're not using the keyboard or mouse correctly, chances are you will first begin to notice back & neck pain, soreness, or stiffness. Then, the pain may creep into our shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands. So, in general, the main cause of wrist pain for most people is usually just incorrect posture & use of our keyboard & mouse.


Is it Serious?

Prolonged incorrect hand posture while using the computer can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome - repetitive motions that can cause squeezing of the nerve. This can be painful and cause cramping, lose muscle mass, & loss of strength. This syndrome can be diagnosed through tests performed by your health care provider.

In addition, if you already have an underlying issue of arthritis, continuous incorrect computer usage can cause added swelling, pain, & stiffness in your hand/wrist joints. Osteoarthritis (wear and tear over time) and rheumatoid arthritis (autoimmune disease) are two types of arthritis that can make your hands/wrist hurt more.

Regardless of what develops from prolonged incorrect usage of the computer, wrist & hand pain can develop to the point where even simple, everyday tasks as lifting objects can be excruciating painful and hard to do. But fortunately, if the pains' just beginning, there are steps to rectify and prevent further injury.


Wrist Pain Prevention Tips

How can you prevent your wrists from flaring up again? Good ergonomics. Here are a few tips:

1. Check your Office Setup:

Make sure that your monitor, mouse, & keyboard is arranged at the proper height for your body size. Screen should be at least 20 inches away from your face and the screen is at eye level.

2. Posture:

Make sure you are sitting comfortably and that you aren't hunched or leaning forward into your screen at work.

3. Proper Keyboard & Mouse Use:

- Adjust your chair height/keyboard level so that your hands are slightly below the elbows (shoulder should be in a relaxed position and not scrunched up).

- Hands should be raised (similar to playing a piano) above the keyboard (not laying flat on the keyboard) but should still be below the level of your elbows.

- Do not use wrist or palm rests or rest your arms on chair arm rests while typing on the keyboard. Wrist should be straight (in line with your arm) and not curved or at an angle.

- Mouse should be positioned just next to your keyboard & the hand position should be similar to using the keyboard - there should be no pressure on the wrists and hand below the elbows.

4. Stretch & Move:

Get up and stretch your body for a few seconds at least every 30 minutes.

5. Switch Up:

If possible, try switching between working sitting down & standing up.


Additional Help

If the pain continues to persist or becomes worse, it is of course good to check in with your health care provider to see what else needs to be done. We hope that the tips above can help improve your working conditions and prevent further injury to your wrists and hands.