Typing is a common and necessary requirement for a variety of positions across all industries. However, despite it being seemingly innocuous, long hours at the keyboard can contribute to the development of a repetitive strain injury (RSI). RSI is a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse. It mostly affects the upper body, such as the forearms, elbows, wrists and hands, as well as the neck and shoulders. RSIs can cause aching, pulsing or tingling pain and weakness. Left untreated, these injuries may become debilitating.
While the symptoms can last for years, there are quick, simple solutions that you can implement to reduce your risk of developing an RSI.
- When you type, make sure your wrists are parallel with your forearms to ensure that there is no added strain.
- Adjust the height and angle of the keyboard until it is level with your hands. The position should not require you to angle your wrists.
- Try to keep your wrist at a level position when you are moving the mouse, similar to where it rests while you type.
- Rely more on keyboard shortcuts to execute commands such as “copy,” “paste” and “undo.”
- Use the arrow keys on your keyboard’s number pad to move the pointer around the screen rather than the mouse
- Take a five-minute break every 30 minutes to stretch and relax.
- Practice good posture—do not slouch. This may require you to adjust your chair until your feet are flat on the ground.
- Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly—at least two and a half hours per week.