Performing repetitive tasks in a work environment can lead to long-term, chronic damage in the form of repetitive strain injuries. These injuries affect the body’s musculoskeletal and nervous systems, and can have huge ramifications on your comfort and quality of life, as well as your ability to effectively do your job.
As with other forms of workplace risks, knowing the causes of repetitive strain injuries to the hand, wrist, and forearm can reduce your risk for developing them. Employees who practice good ergonomics are more likely to be happier, healthier, and more productive.
With that in mind, we’re proud to present the following information on the causes of repetitive arm strain in the workplace, and what you can do to prevent it. We hope this helps you stay happy and healthy.
Causes of Strain
Your wrists are bent
While it may seem like this is a very minor issue, the placement of your wrists on the keyboard surface can have huge repercussions on the overall health of your wrists and forearms. Ideally, your wrists should be kept parallel with the rest of your arms in order to reduce strain on them. If you have a broad chest, you may consider purchasing a split-keyboard configuration to allow you to maintain this posture.
Wrist strain is especially dangerous, because it can add up slowly over time. The only way to prevent long-term strain is to conscientiously work to prevent it. Always keep your wrists straight, rather than bent or at an angle. Even if it doesn’t feel awkward at the time, it can cause damage over time.
Your keyboard is at an upwards angle
Most keyboards come with legs to prop them up at an upwards-facing angle. However, this can put undue strain on the wrists, which have to compensate for the added angle. Instead, you should consider laying your keyboard down flat or even putting it at an angle that slopes downward. This can prevent some of the stress that repeated typing can put on the hands and wrists.
You’re hitting the keyboard too hard
Many people inadvertently type too forcefully, which can have a deleterious effect on the hands and arms over time. If you hit the keys too hard, you will damage the joints and nerves of the fingers, which can spread upwards over time, making it difficult and painful to type. Try to apply as little force as possible when typing.
You’re not taking enough breaks
It’s easy to feel behind the eight-ball at work, and that you don’t have the time it takes to take breaks. However, by working constantly without occasional breaks, you could be leading to serious stress injuries in your hands and arms. Try to take a ten-minute break once every hour. This gives your joints a rest and prevents your finger-strength from ebbing too quickly. Additionally, consider taking small breaks of less than a minute every now and then, as this will reduce pain and prevent injury.
Repetitive strain injuries are one of the biggest issues facing office workers today. Suffering from an injury can make it difficult and painful to work and can seriously reduce job efficiency and satisfaction. By simply following these steps, you can drastically reduce the incidence of injury and increase your happiness at work.
BeyondTheOfficeDoor.com offers a selection of modern office furniture designed to add comfort to your home or office. From specially designed ergonomic keyboard trays to fully standing desks, our web store provides an extensive inventory of drafting chairs, ergonomic office chairs and the ergohuman so that you can properly furnish your work environment.
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