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Explanation of the Different Types of Wrist Movements and How they May Cause Pain

15 June 2022

If you sit in an office, the repeated hand and wrist motions required to do different jobs, such as typing, might cause wrist discomfort. Wrist discomfort might make it difficult to carry out your obligations comfortably, and it can also reduce your productivity. Carpal tunnel syndrome, a significant cause of wrist discomfort, was the third most prevalent cause of days missed due to diseases and injuries in 2017.

Wrist discomfort is common among office employees who execute repeated motions every day in inefficient work conditions. As experts of ergonomic office furniture and how it impacts the body, FlexiSpot has noted how bad ergonomics can result in the wrists hurting.

We take pride in providing effective ergonomic furniture that eliminates wrist pain. We help workers develop healthy workplace habits, so they can prevent wrist pain before it occurs. Read on to find out our insight into how wrist movement may cause pain in an office job and the different types of wrist movements.

Wrist Movements

Different Types of Wrist Movements

The wrist is a complicated structure of joints built around your carpal bones, as well as the ulna and radius (forearm bones). Three separate motions are possible with the wrist.

Extension and flexion
Supination and pronation
Radial deviation (radial flexion) and ulnar deviation (ulnar flexion)

Expansion and Flexion

Flexion is the action of bending your palm of a hand down towards the wrist. The process of elevating the rear of the hand is known as extension.

Pronation and Supination

Supination is a movement that involves turning your forearm into a palm-up posture. The process of twisting the forearm towards the palm down posture is known as pronation.

Ulnar Deviation and Radial Deviation

The process of bending your wrist to the side of the small finger, also known as the ulnar bone, is known as ulnar deviation or ulnar flexion. This is the action you make with your right hand while pressing the enter key for example. Radial flexion, also known as radial deviation, is the action of bending your wrist to the side of the thumb, also known as the radial bone.

The Neutral Wrist Position

The neutral wrist posture is one in which the wrist is straight in relation to the forearm, with no extension, radial, flexion, or ulnar deviation. Between pronation and supination, the wrist is in the middle. This movement is called the handshake position.

Wrist Injuries

Common Wrist Injuries and Problems

1. Sudden Impacts: If you end up falling directly onto your wrist or extended hand, it can cause an injury in your wrist. In such cases, it is common to get strains, sprains, and even fractures in the hand. One common fracture is the scaphoid fracture that occurs on the thumb. Sometimes, it doesn't even show up on an X-Ray after the fall, so be careful about your wrists if you end up falling.

2. Repeated Stress Injury: There are some actions that repeatedly require the same wrist movement. For example, playing the cello, typing for long hours at work, or knitting. Any such activity can inflame tissues that surround your joints or even result in fractures from induced stress. This is particularly true if you continue such work without taking any breaks at all. De Quervain's illness is among the types of repetitive stress injuries that affect the base of the thumb and result in discomfort.

3. Osteoarthritis: Most bones in the body have cartilage at the joints of the bones that starts to deteriorate over time, which causes osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis usually only affects people who have hurt their wrists before and is rarer than the rheumatoid kind when it comes to wrists.

4. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis disease is where the immune system of the body starts to eat up the body's own tissues. This is very common in the wrists. Usually, if one wrist starts to develop this, the other one will do the same.

5. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This type of wrist injury is where the hand's median nerve receives too much strain as it is passing through the hand's carpal tunnel. This is very common among office workers who work at their desks all day long.

Wrist Pain Prevention Recommendations

Wrist Pain Prevention Recommendations

There are some things you can do to ensure that you don’t experience wrist pain in the long run.

Make Sure to Have Good Posture While Typing

There are various factors to consider while establishing proper posture. When typing on a computer, the following criteria might assist you in maintaining proper posture:

Make sure the elbows are at the exact same height as the keyboard.
Keep your keyboard directly in front of you at all times.
Set up your keyboard such that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle and close to your torso, and your forearms are parallel to the floor.
Set your mouse in such a way that you may relax the shoulders while keeping the wrist in a neutral position.
Sit with the back straight and the feet flat on the ground instead of stooping forward.
To encourage movement, unlock the backrest of your chair.

To do this, you need to make sure that you have an ergonomic workstation that takes into account the body’s posture. The Willow Standing Desk by Flexispotis designed to provide office workers with a sustainable and flexible solution to wrist pain. It offers height-adjustability that allows you to position the desk in the way that supports your arms, elbows, back, neck, and shoulders.

Sitting or standing while working in an ergonomic position will allow you to reduce the strain that working can have on your wrists. It can hold your PC and accessories without any issues, so you can play your keyboard, mouse, monitor, and everything else within reach so that you don’t strain your wrists.

We also recommend getting an ergonomic chair with proper arm rests that support the wrist and its movements.

Repetition and Overuse May Lead to Damage

Take regular pauses while working on the computer. At a minimum of every 60 minutes, get up and go for a small walk around the office. The activity will improve circulation and may even help you be more productive since you'll feel rejuvenated when you return to your work. If you can't get away from your desk, take a break every now and then and roll both hands over, letting the knuckles rest in a different position on the table.

When executing jobs, attempt to vary your patterns so that the same hand isn't making the same actions all of the time. Get a rubber stress ball and squeeze it in between jobs to keep the muscles functioning in a new manner.

Fingers and Wrists Should Be Exercised

You can keep the wrists flexible and limber by doing easy stretching exercises. Gently move the wrists up and down to strengthen them. Make a fist and then extend out the fingers and thumbs. Rep these exercises throughout the day, particularly if you have a lot of repetitious tasks.

Use Wrist Braces to Keep Your Movements Under Control

Wrist braces or splints may help keep the wrists in a neutral position and prevent them from moving too much in one direction. Wearing them before bed might be beneficial since you have little control over the wrist motions when sleeping. If you obtain wrist braces, be sure they fit correctly so you can receive the support you need.

Get Medical Help If You're Experiencing Any Symptoms

Get medical help if you experience pain or other symptoms in the wrists, hands, or fingers that continue for more than a few weeks. If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome wrist discomfort may develop and result in irreversible nerve damage. No matter what sort of wrist discomfort you suffer, orthopedic surgeons offer a variety of therapies, including surgery, to relieve pain and restore flexibility.

Medical therapy may be beneficial for wrist discomfort that involves the following symptoms:

  • Numbness, tingling, or pain that becomes worse at night
  • Swelling or redness around the wrist
  • Difficulty holding items or creating a fist
  • Clicking sound accompanied with wrist movement
  • Inability to carry out basic hand motions

Now that you know how wrist movement may cause pain, make sure to incorporate ways to prevent it in your daily life.