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4 Common Hand Injuries for Individuals with a Desk Job and How You Can Prevent Them

24 July 2023

If your job requires you to sit all day in front of the screen, chances are you will feel you are away from the danger of sustaining an injury.

But that's not often true.

Working on screen all day can put you at risk of developing several health conditions, some of them which may involve your hands.

Since most of the tasks on the desk often almost always involve some use of hands, your hands are at risk of developing complicated neuromuscular conditions such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. It happens because the structure of your hand is delicate and comprises relatively small and complex muscles, bones, tendons, and joints. Moreover, given the structure of the hand, injuries on the hands are hard to fix and take a long time to heal.

Since the hands make one of the most frequently used body parts, it's important that you know about some of the common hand injuries associated with a desk job. Moreover, you should also know how to prevent these common hand injuries associated with a desk job because prevention is better than cure at the end of the day.

Let's look at some of the common hand injuries that commonly affect individuals with a desk job.



4 Common Hand injuries for Individuals with a Desk Job

Some of the most common hand injuries associated with modern-day desk jobs that could happen in the workplace include the following.

Tendinitis

Tendinitis is a painful condition associated with inflamed and irritated tendons. It often happens following an injury; however, repetitive overuse of the tendons in your hands is the leading cause of the condition. When your fingers and wrists are constantly involved in repetitive motions, you may develop this painful condition, with pain intensifying during movement.

Apart from pain, swelling and thickening of the affected tendon (that may appear like a lump) may be some common symptoms you may experience with this condition.

A repetitive strain injury is quite common among individuals whose job demands regular keyboard and mouse use.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The other hand injury common among office workers and construction employees is carpal tunnel syndrome.

The condition occurs when the carpal tunnel (a narrow passageway on the palm side of your hand) becomes inflamed. The condition causes the median nerve, which runs from the wrist to the hand, to squeeze. As a result, you may develop some of the common symptoms of this condition, such as pain and numbness, tingling, and weakness.

While using ergonomic office equipment at workstations can lower the risk of developing this condition, it remains one of the most common hand injuries among desk workers.

Trigger Finger

Another hand injury that is associated with repetitive overuse of tendons is the trigger finger. The condition causes one of your fingers to get stuck in a bent position, and straightening it causes a snap which is similar to a trigger being pulled and released.

The condition can impact your ability to grip objects and perform tasks that require bending and straightening of your fingers.

Tennis Elbow

Persistent overuse of the forearm and elbows result in a painful condition that develops outside the elbow. While sportsmen, particularly those involved in golf and tennis, typically develop the condition, it is also common among computer users who are involved in repeated movements.

When you are required to sit at your desk and bend your elbows to type and constantly work with the mouse, it can put pressure on your muscles and tendons that run through your hand and elbow and eventually lead to pain, discomfort, and swelling in the elbow.



How to Prevent Hand Injuries at Workplace?

While a desk job makes you prone to developing several hand injuries, most of these injuries are fortunately preventable. There are several ways you can protect your joints while you are at work.

Here are some important things to keep in mind that will help prevent hand injuries associated with a desk job.

Take Regular Breaks

If you have a desk job, this may sound like a piece of familiar advice, but many individuals with a desk job often get so engrossed while working that they often skip taking a break.

They often need to realize that these breaks are a good use of time. Instead, they serve as a way to get you a mental break that aids in improving your productivity.

Moreover, taking regular breaks is also a great way to give your muscles and joints a much-needed break that benefits your body. It also allows your muscles and joint to recover from the stress of repetitive movements, which is often the case with your fingers and wrists primarily involved in using the mouse or the keyboard.

For this reason, it's important to reiterate that you should schedule regular breaks in your everyday work schedule. If you find it difficult to take breaks, you can set a reminder or download one of the many apps that can help you remember when to pause and take a break.

Don't Skip on Hydration

Another important thing you should set up a reminder for is regular hydration.

When involved in a desk job, many people often forget the significance of keeping their bodies hydrated. While water is essential for a healthy mind and body, let’s not forget that hydration is also beneficial for your joints and aids in maintaining and improving your joint health.

Maintain Optimal Position When Typing

Whether you work on a conventional desk or have a standing desk, you must ensure that you position your arms such that your elbows make a 90-degree angle to your arm. Maintaining the optimal position of your hand while you are using the keyboard or the mouse helps promote ideal posture and prevents the risk of developing common hand injuries at work.



Invest in Ergonomic Office Equipment

When it comes to maintaining ergonomic posture and optimal hand position, one must consider the importance of investing in ergonomic office equipment.

Ergonomic office equipment such as a standing desk allows you to maintain an ergonomic posture while maintaining optimal hand position. While it may take some time to get used to working on a height-adjustable standing desk, using one can significantly help prevent musculoskeletal concerns associated with a desk job.

If you are looking for a height-adjustable standing desk for your workplace, Essential Standing Desk (E2 Pro) by FlexiSpot makes a reliable choice. The height-adjustable standing desk features a solid construction with programmable preset heights that is available at a very affordable price.

The standing desk allows you to create a cozy and ergonomic desktop that also provides you the flexibility to attach accessories like a clamp-on keyboard tray for enhancing the functionality of the desk while allowing you to maintain good posture and appropriate hand position.

Try Out Some Desk-Stretches

When you have to spend around 1/3 of your day at the desk, it's important that you take out a few minutes to stretch your body as it can do wonders for your muscles, joints, and ligaments.

Even simple sitting and standing stretches at the desk can have a significant impact on your flexibility. Moreover, stretching also helps strengthen your muscles which aid in maintaining healthy joints.

Continue to Move Outside the Office

Getting involved in regular physical activity outside the office can serve as a great measure to improve the strength and flexibility of your joints while you are working at the desk.

When you are physically active, it helps you combat common health concerns associated with a desk job, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a common ailment among individuals with a desk job. By staying focused on being active outside the office and prioritizing the health and flexibility of your body may be difficult given the busy everyday life schedules, but it comes with a range of benefits that makes it worth it.

Final Words

Most individuals with a desk job end up spending almost half of their waking hours working. If you have a desk job that constantly places stress on your muscles and joint, you shouldn't be surprised if you end up with a chronic injury of your hand or wrist.

Fortunately, it is possible to prevent the common hand injuries associated with a desk job. By keeping the above-mentioned tips in mind, you can reduce your risk of developing common hand injuries at the workplace and live a healthy and happy life.