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How Poor Ergonomics Leads to Wrist Injuries

08 September 2023

It is no secret that many jobs today require long hours sitting at a computer. While this may appear convenient for the worker, it can lead to health problems if proper precautions are not taken. Wrist pain is one of the most common injuries associated with extended computer use. This problem can be traced back to poor ergonomics or how a person positions their body while working.

Ergonomics at a Glance

Simply put, ergonomics is the study of how people interact with their environment. In the workplace, this means creating a comfortable and efficient space for the workers. This can be accomplished in several ways, such as adjustability, proper lighting, and adequate ventilation. When it comes to computer use, ergonomics also includes the positioning of the keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

Ergonomics and Injuries - Is there a Connection?

While many people may not think twice about how they sit at their desks, improper ergonomics can lead to several problems.

A growing body of evidence suggests poor ergonomics is a major contributing factor to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs are injuries that occur when the muscles, tendons, or joints are strained. They can be caused by a single event, such as lifting a heavy object, or from repetitive motions, like typing on a keyboard.



Common Wrist Injuries

Two types of wrist injuries can occur from poor ergonomics: carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. Both of these injuries are caused by the overuse of the wrist and can be extremely painful. If left untreated, they can also lead to long-term damage.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

One of the most common MSDs is carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). CTS is a condition that develops when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, becomes compressed. This compression can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and wrist. CTS is often caused by repetitive motions of the wrist and hands, such as typing or using a mouse.

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

De Quervain's tenosynovitis is another condition that affects the tendons in the wrist. This condition is caused by the inflammation of the tendons that attach the thumb to the hand. This inflammation can cause pain and swelling in the wrist and thumb. De Quervain's tenosynovitis is often caused by repetitive thumb motions, such as texting or using a smartphone.



What To Do When You Experience Wrist Pain?

If you experience wrist pain, you must see a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent the condition from worsening. In some cases, wrist pain may be caused by a more serious condition, such as a fracture or arthritis. A doctor can determine the cause of your pain and recommend the best course of action.

You can also take some steps to soothe the pain. Remedies such as rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medication can help to relieve the pain. You may also want to try wearing a wrist brace to support the joint.



10 Ways to Prevent Wrist Injuries

Like all other illnesses, prevention is the best cure. It is better and easier to prevent wrist injuries than to treat them. Here are ten ways to prevent wrist injuries:


1. Use ergonomic keyboards, mice, and monitors:

When you are at your computer, it is essential to use equipment that is designed to be ergonomic. This means that the keyboard, mouse, and monitor should be adjustable so that you can position them in a comfortable way. An ergonomic keyboard can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, and an ergonomic mouse can help prevent de Quervain's tenosynovitis.

2. Position your keyboard and mouse so that your wrists are in a neutral position:

One of the most important aspects of ergonomics is proper wrist positioning. Your wrists should be in a neutral position when you are typing or using a mouse. Your wrists should be straight, not bent up or down. You can achieve a neutral position by adjusting the height of your keyboard and mouse so that they are at the same level as your elbows.

3. Take breaks often to stretch and move your hands and wrists:

Taking breaks often to stretch and move your hands and wrists is essential. This will help to prevent the muscles from getting tired or strained. You can do simple stretches for your hands and wrists or take a quick walk around the office.

4. Use a wrist rest when typing:

A wrist rest can be helpful when you are typing for long periods. It will support your wrists and help to keep them in a neutral position. Make sure to choose a wrist rest that is properly sized for your hands and fits comfortably on your desk.

5. Avoid excessive hand motions:

When you are working on the computer, try to avoid making excessive hand motions. This includes excessive twisting of the wrist and flexing of the fingers. Try to keep your hands in a relaxed position as much as possible.

6. Keep your hands warm:

Cold hands can lead to stiff joints and muscles, which makes them more prone to injury. To keep your hands warm, try wearing gloves or keeping a hot pack nearby.

7. Use the right tools for the job:

Whenever possible, try to use the tools designed for the task at hand. For example, use a brush with short bristles instead of a roller brush if you are painting. This will help reduce the strain on your hands and wrists.

8. Exercise regularly:

Exercising regularly can help to prevent injuries by keeping your muscles and joints strong. Try to do exercises targeting the muscles and joints in your hands and wrists.

9. Maintain a healthy weight:

Being overweight can put extra strain on your joints, leading to injuries. Maintaining a healthy weight will help to reduce the risk of joint injuries.

10. See a doctor if you experience pain or other symptoms

If you are experiencing pain or other symptoms, it is essential to see a doctor so that they can determine the cause of the problem. In some cases, an underlying medical condition may need to be treated. Seeing a doctor early can help to prevent further problems down the road.



Classic Riser Standing Desk Converter M3

The Classic Riser Standing Desk Converter M3 by FlexiSpot is the perfect way to convert your existing desk into a standing desk. The Classic Riser is easy to set up and use and is adjustable to ensure your wrists are always in the correct position, whether sitting or standing.

You don't have to put in much effort to go from sitting to standing — even with a 35-pound desktop load. With little more than a light squeeze of the handlebar, you can lift using only 13 pounds of force. Lowering back down requires just 3 pounds of force.

It saves space on your workstation and ensures excellent stabilization when raising or lowering. Even at full capacity, the M3 can be adjusted with ease and convenience.



A Few Exercises to Prevent Wrist Injuries

Wrist Extension

Sit or stand with your arm out in front of you and your palm facing down. Use your other hand to gently bend your wrist back until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Wrist Flexion

Sit or stand with your arm out in front of you and your palm facing up. Use your other hand to gently bend your wrist forward until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Finger Extensor Stretch

Hold your hand out in front of you with the palm facing down. Use the fingers of your other hand to gently pull the fingers back until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Finger Flexor Stretch

Hold your hand out in front of you with the palm facing up. Use the fingers of your other hand to gently push the fingers down until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Thumb Extension Stretch

Hold your hand out in front of you with the palm facing down. Use the thumb of your other hand to gently pull the thumb back until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Thumb Flexion Stretch

Hold your hand out in front of you with the palm facing up. Use the thumb of your other hand to gently push the thumb down until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Final Thoughts

To prevent wrist injuries, it is essential to take some simple precautions. Try to use the right tools for the job, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight. See a doctor as soon as possible if you experience pain or other symptoms. The above exercises can help to keep your wrists flexible and strong. With some care, you can avoid wrist injuries and keep doing what you love.