Repetitive stress can lead to any number of wrist injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis and tendonitis. All have essentially the same symptoms – pain in the wrist, arm and hand. In order to prevent repetitive stress injuries to our wrist, follow these six tips:
- Stay Strong
It really is true that if you dont use it, youll lose it. So exercise your wrists regularly to make sure that they remain strong.
- Stay Healthy
If your overall health is not good, all areas of your body (including your wrists) will be vulnerable to stress. Exercise regularly, eat a good diet, and maintain a healthy weight.
- Change Positions
Sitting in one place for lengthy periods of time can cause muscle strain. This is especially true if your job requires you to use a computer for hours on end. Get up and stretch your wrists as well as the rest of your body.
- Keep a Proper Distance
When you work with your hands, you want to keep them a reasonable distance from your body – not too close, but not too far away either. This enables your other muscles (the ones in your back, shoulders and arms) to take on some of the load that you would be otherwise demanding of your wrists. It also encourages good blood flow, and reduces the stress on nerves, tendons and ligaments.
- Be Mindful of Your Range of Motion
Your wrists are essentially the same as other joints in your body, in that they are capable of a wide range of motion. Just because you can stretch them to their limit though, that doesnt mean that you should. Make sure that you are not flexing your wrist joints to extremes when you are working. Much of the time, this can cause muscle pulls and hyperextension. Your body is very flexible, but demanding too much can lead to a great deal of stress on nerves and tendons.
- Avoid Flexing Upward
Your hand is designed essentially to grip, and a gripping motion is naturally downward. When you are flexing upward, you have less leverage, and your hand has to work considerably harder. This places stress on the leverage points, and can cause damage to the nerves and tendons. Ideally, your fingers and palms should always be somewhere between a gripping position and a flat position – this is why most computer desks have slide-out trays to accommodate a keyboard. If you are reaching upward onto a desktop, your hands are not in a natural position, and it is a recipe for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Keep in mind, too, that using the scroll wheel on your mouse requires upward flexing, so you should use it as little as possible.
Repetitive stress can lead to hand and wrist injuries, and increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. You should always try to keep your hands as low as possible, and avoid movements that require flexing your hands upward. If your job requires a lot of repetitive movement, try to change position regularly.