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Typing Injuries: How to Prevent Them

05 December 2023

With everything going digital, it's no surprise that our lives have followed suit. From work to leisure time, we spend a large part of our day on the computer.

But using the computer so frequently can easily set us up for another major risk: typing injuries.

Most people who have to work at their computers will have some form of typing to do. Whether that's coding or responding to emails or drafting up reports, there is quite a bit of typing to do, and as a result, quite a bit of risk involved in developing typing injuries.

Typing injuries can become quite a pain to deal with, but the good news is that with some effort, we can avoid them.

So how do you prevent typing injuries? Let's take a look.

What Are Typing Injuries?

Before we go into prevention tips, let's look at what typing injuries are. As the name suggests, they are injuries that are caused by typing, but there could be a large number of them. Typing injuries will mostly fall under the medical category of repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), due to the repetitive nature of typing.

RSIs happen when a joint is placed under stress, which causes the tendons and muscles around it to get pulled. This will not become an injury immediately, and you probably won't notice the effects in the short term. However, in the long-run, the muscles and tendons don't get enough time to heal from the stretch, and get irritated. This causes a greater amount of fluid to collect in the area to reduce the stress, and is when it officially becomes an injury.

Typing injuries will usually include:

Carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a condition involving compression of the median nerve. This is a very common condition, affecting millions of Americans

Tennis elbow, which is soreness in the elbow and doesn't need you to play tennis to get it

Ganglion cysts, which are swellings in the wrist filled with fluid

Tendonitis, which involves inflammation or tearing of the tendons

Cervical Radiculopathy, which involves disk compression in the neck

There could be plenty of others, but these are the most common problems people face nowadays as a result of computer work and typing.

How to Prevent Typing Injuries

Typing injuries are a menace, not only because they hurt, but also because they affect your hands, which affects your ability to do anything at all. Fortunately, they are also easily avoidable, as long as you're willing to put in some effort.

With computer use, the method to prevent typing injuries would be to try and minimize the amount of stress being placed on the body, since for many people there is little choice in the matter of how much work can be done.



Adjust Workstation

A major contributor to the prevention of typing injuries (though not a complete one) is to adjust your workstation in a way that allows you to reduce and minimize the amount of stress being placed on your body.

Your workstation is what defines what posture you're sitting in, and posture is at least half (or most of) the reason why typing injuries develop in the first place.

Your workstation should be set up such that your monitor is placed straight ahead of you, and the top of the screen should be at eye level. Your keyboard and mouse should be low enough that your shoulders don't hunch up when you're using them.



Posture

Adjusting your workstation to correct your posture is important, but adjusting your posture is also necessary. You should keep your body in a position such that your neck is not bent down, craned forward or even bent backwards. Doing so can put strain on your neck, as well as your shoulder and back muscles.

Your back should be straight, and your arms should be by your sides, bent at an approximately 90 degree angle at the elbow. Your wrists should be in a neutral position while you type.

Your feet should be resting on the floor (or a foot rest of some sort, if they don't reach the floor on their own) and your thighs should be in-line with, or slightly below your hips.

Does that sound like a lot? It is. Correcting posture is a lot of work if the habit hasn't been instilled into you from the start, and maintaining it is also difficult. However, keeping good posture is also crucial in preventing typing injuries, so you should correct it whenever you notice that your posture is off.



Taking Breaks

This may be surprising, but the trick to avoiding typing injuries…is to type less! Who knew?

Remember what we said about typing injuries being repetitive stress injuries? The very nature of these injuries is that they are caused by repetitive work, so by putting a gap in the time you spend doing this type of work can have a huge effect.

Taking breaks is very important - not just for your mental health and focus, but also for your physical health. These breaks don't have to be very long. A 5-10 minute break every half to one hour is good enough. Use these breaks to do something beneficial to your body, like stretches, or standing up and moving around.

Don't use your breaks to scroll through your phone because this won't be a break at all - just another way for you to stress your body out.



Use The Right Furniture

One way to avoid typing injuries - and this one contributes to all the rest of them - is to get the right furniture. Think about it: if your furniture is too high or too low, your workstation isn't set up appropriately.

If your desk or chair isn't in the right position for your body type and stature, you'd end up with bad posture. Both of these will end with putting unnecessary strain on your joints and cause typing injuries.

Having the right furniture is very important in making sure you don't stress your body out. Unfortunately, in office spaces, furniture is often chosen based on the cost, or how well it works for the average user, rather than customizability for everyone.

As an example, office chairs are generally made to be ergonomic to some extent, but they will come with only a certain range of adjustment and customization. On the other hand, desks are almost always fixed in place.

The right furniture is not just comfortable to use, but also has adjustment options that allow you to adjust the height, depth, angle, etc. to make sure that your body is in the best possible position for work.



FlexiSpot Soutien Office Chair (C5)

FlexiSpot's Soutien Ergonomic Chair is ideal for making sure your position remains correct.

Because of its height adjustment feature, you can make sure your arms are placed at the right angle relative to your body so that the long hours of work don't end up putting unnecessary pressure on them. Bad posture is one of the leading causes of bodily pains and musculoskeletal disorders that come as a result of long hours of typing, so having proper arm support can keep these kinds of injuries from developing.

The adjustable armrests also allow you to rest your elbows while you work so they don't end up hanging in mid-air and make you uncomfortable. This allows you to distribute the weight of your arms evenly and won't put pressure on your shoulders or neck. It also helps you keep your wrists in the correct position so you don't end up with other sorts of injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.

The chair also comes with 3D lumbar support, which keeps your back rested and supported so that you don't end up with back pain and problems that stem from back pain. Many adults around the world suffer from back pain, and having proper lumbar support keeps this problem from developing.

The backrest tilt allows you to recline comfortably during your breaks so you can get some of the rest you need right there at your desk. Simply having the option will also encourage you to take breaks, which are needed to make sure you're not stressing your muscles continuously.

The Soutien chair also offers adjustable seat depth. This ties in with good back support, since it allows you to customize the chair according to your body shape, and thus make sure that all parts of your body remain supported. There is also a headrest to keep your head and neck supported and prevent any problems in your neck and shoulder muscles, which could travel down to your arms.

There are plenty of things you can do to prevent injuries in the workplace. Since these can be very costly in terms of both, health and money, it is always best to take steps to prevent these from happening, than to have to deal with the costs that come with them afterwards.