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5 Ways to Prevent Repetitive Strain Injuries

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 supported.

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.

Contact us at (713) 588-0042 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment today.