Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) are some of the most common work-related
injuries in the United States. RSIs are a potentially disabling condition
caused by prolonged repetitive movements, such as those involved in extended
computer use. Symptoms of RSIs include pain, numbness, and stiffness in
the hands, wrists, arms, forearms, and back. Here are 5 ways to prevent
RSIs in the workplace if you spend a lot of time in front of the computer
on a day-to-day basis.
1. Type Using a Neutral Wrist Position
If you type a great deal during the course of your job, you should understand
what a neutral wrist position on the keyboard looks like. Your wrists
shouldn’t be bent toward your thumb or your little finger. They
should be as straight as possible, so your hands feel like they are resting
on the keyboard. Likewise, never type so your wrists are too high or too
low compared to your hands and forearm. When typing, all of these parts
should align in a straight position to prevent strain.
2. Adjust or Replace the Keyboard
Few keyboards are meant to be ergonomically used. In fact, the height adjustment
tabs at the rear or most keyboards are unhelpful when typing. Keyboards
should be flat and at or below elbow level. This position makes it easier
to type with your wrists in neutral position. Having a gel wrist rest
placed along the edge of the desk can often help people maintain a neutral
wrist position and avoid straining the wrist.
3. Take Regular Breaks
One of the most important tips is to take small breaks consistently throughout
the day. Take 5 minutes after every 20 to 30 minutes of continuous activity
to stretch out your hands, take a short walk around your desk, or maybe
get some water. This pause can give your hands and wrists a break, so
the muscles and tendons don’t get overworked.
4. Use an Ergonomic Mouse or Buy a Gel Pad
Many people develop RSIs in their mouse hands. A gel wrist pad or a mouse
designed for ergonomic use can help keep your wrist in a better position.
You can also save yourself some time by using keyboard shortcuts instead.
5. Sit Up Straight
Slouching is one of the worst things you could do for your back, neck,
and shoulders. Bad posture is a primary risk factor in developing an RSI.
Choose and adjust your seat so you can sit up straight and have your back
If you have sustained an RSI at work, let us help. Talk to one of our Houston
work injury rehab physicians about your symptoms. Let us develop an individualized
treatment plan designed to meet your needs.
at (713) 588-0042 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment today.