Typing and Wrist Pain: It Probably Isn’t Carpal Tunnel!

wrist painIf you experience wrist pain after typing a long paper or while performing your normal workday activities, you may feel the pang of worry telling you that you are developing carpal tunnel syndrome. In a recent post, we discussed how research actually points to medical factors far before the repetitive motion of typing in the development of this condition. So, if it's not carpal tunnel syndrome that is causing your wrists to hurt when you type, what is it - and what do you do about it?

What may be behind quite a few cases of chronic wrist pain associated with typing is a repetitive stress injury, or RSI. This could be a serious condition that could keep you from being able to perform your current type of work. Pain can also prevent you from performing other tasks, such as playing the piano or knitting, or possibly even opening jars and gripping everyday items. For that reason, RSI is something you should know about.

Because a repetitive stress injury is the result of overuse of the hands, the goal in preventing and treating this condition is to pamper the ligaments, muscles, joints, and bones that do your handy-work. When typing:

  • Keep wrists as straight as possible in order to minimize strain on nerves and tendons.
  • Lift wrists off the desk, keyboard, or pad. Let them float across the keyboard so more muscles are available to assist with proper movements.
  • Type with a light touch, not excessive force through your fingers.
  • Refrain from stretching your little finger to reach any key. Instead, move the entire hand.

Creating a Healthy Work Environment
The way that you type is important. The tools that you use are, as well. Some people trade their normal mouse for a trackball, which involves various fingers to accomplish tasks, not just one. Proper posture and desk to chair height ratio can also affect the position of wrists while you type, so playing with this formation could reap ongoing rewards.

Ultimately, pain in the wrists when you type could be a signal for rest. If symptoms occur, try to give your hands a rest for one to two days. Ice packs may be applied for 20-minute sessions, and you can support the wrist with a loosely applied wrap.

Wrist pain that persists should be evaluated. To schedule a visit with an experienced orthopedic doctor in New Jersey, call (973) 942-1315.

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