Wrist injury prevention is vital in this increasingly tech-dominated world. Whether gaming, typing, texting or talking on the phone, you may be at risk of developing tendonitis in the wrist, carpal tunnel or even nerve damage. Here are some tips and tricks that will help keep your wrists in top shape.
Try Stretches, Breaks and Exercises
Stretches, breaks and exercises can ease the tension you're putting on your wrists every day. Here are some activities you can try:
- Take breaks for 10 minutes every hour or more if needed, Harvard suggests. This includes breaks from your phone, not just your computer.
- Stretch your wrists before you first start typing and again during your breaks. You can hold your hands in a "prayer" position and gently push to one side for 15 to 30 seconds, and then push to the other side.
- Try this exercise: Make a tight fist and hold it for a few seconds after you've been typing for a while, and then stretch your fingers and hold them, WomensHealth.gov suggests.
- Yoga might help reduce pain and improve grip strength, reports the National Institutes of Health.
- Keep your hands warm while you're typing, even if that means wearing fingerless gloves.
If you're already experiencing pain, check with your doctor first to see which stretches are best for your condition.
Wear Wrist Splints at Night
A wrist brace can help ease your pain, especially if the pain is from carpal tunnel, Cleveland Clinic suggests. Sometimes wrist issues are made worse if you flex your wrists while you're sleeping. Wear a wrist splint while you sleep so you're not adding to the injury.
Correct Bad Typing Habits
How you hold your wrists and hands when you're typing can make a big difference. Most experts recommend keeping your keyboard at a position that allows your elbows to be at 90 degrees and your wrists neutral. Your mouse should be at the same level as your keyboard. Avoid contorting your hands while you're typing, Harvard suggests. You can fall into the habit of contorting your hands to hit the CTRL or ALT keys, or other awkward key combinations, and this can hurt your wrist. While you type, don't rest your wrists. If you think you have developed poor typing habits, you can always take a typing class to help pinpoint them. Piano lessons can also help you learn how to properly hold your hands while typing.
Bad habits can be tough to unlearn. That's where a good ergonomic keyboard and mouse can help. Split ergonomic keyboards can be a great way to stop you from contorting your hands while you type. You might even consider investing in a vertical mouse to help your wrist stay neutral.
Keep Good Posture With Ergonomic Chairs and Desks
Posture is paramount to protecting your wrists, and it also helps with back and neck pain too. You should be sitting with both feet on the floor — don't let them dangle. Your thighs should be level or angled just slightly down. Your chair should be tilted back a bit, at about 110 degrees, and your spine should be in line with your chair, WebMD notes. The top of your screen should be about eye level. All of this can be a little tough to remember or even achieve depending on the type of desk or chair that you have. Make it easier by investing in an ergonomic chair that supports your back and a standing desk whose height can be adjusted to help your posture.
See a Doctor
If you're experiencing pain or tingling in your wrists or hands, make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor might suggest physical therapy to help you find good exercises and stretches that ease your discomfort.
As you can see, there are quite a few tricks you can use for wrist injury prevention. Keeping good posture, taking breaks and stretching your hands can prevent carpal tunnel, nerve damage or tendonitis in the wrist. It's much easier to prevent a problem rather than fix it later. So even if you're not experiencing pain now, it's a good idea to try these strategies to keep your wrists healthy.