Office Worker? Keep Your Hands and Wrists Safe With These Tricks

Mar 02, 2024

Office Worker? Keep Your Hands and Wrists Safe With These Tricks

If you spend long hours at a computer, you’re at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Here’s what you can do to protect your hands and wrists.

Office work may not come with many physical job risks, but carpal tunnel syndrome is common in fields that involve a lot of computer use. It’s a type of impingement affecting the median nerve, which runs through a passageway in your wrist called the carpal tunnel. When this nerve is repeatedly compressed or aggravated, you can experience symptoms in areas where the median nerve runs. In your thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers, you might experience:

  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • Shock-like sensations
  • Hand weakness
  • An inability to hold onto things

Most office workers who get carpal tunnel syndrome experience a gradual onset of these symptoms because of the repeated hand movements involved with computer use. You might find that shaking your hands temporarily alleviates the symptoms, but the symptoms can get worse with time and result in permanent nerve damage if you don’t address them. 

At North Point Orthopaedics in Munster and Crown Point, Indiana, our team of world-class orthopedists and surgeons frequently diagnoses and treats carpal tunnel syndrome in office workers. Whether you’ve experienced carpal tunnel syndrome before or are at risk of getting it in the future, our team offers helpful prevention strategies to keep your wrists safe. 

Preventing carpal tunnel syndrome can spare you from costly treatment or even carpal tunnel release surgery to protect your median nerve. Here are our top tricks your can use to protect your hands and wrists:

1. Improve your workstation’s ergonomics

Improving the ergonomics of your workstation sets you up for healthy working and plenty of support for your musculoskeletal system. To work in an optimal position and lower your risk for carpal tunnel syndrome, consider applying these tips:

  • Place a wrist rest in front of your keyboard
  • Sit with your back straight
  • Relax your shoulders 
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor
  • Avoid leaning on your wrists’ heels
  • Try a split or V-shaped keyboard
  • Wear wrist splints while working

You might not think much about your sitting position or office equipment while working, but modifying your body position and environment can go a long way toward protecting your wrists. 

2. Give your wrists regular breaks

Too much of any repetitive motion can put you at risk of injuries, and typing is no exception. If you have an office job, try to take regular brief breaks to rest your wrists throughout the day. Stretching and flexing your hands or shaking them out to release muscle tension can also help. 

If your job involves a variety of tasks, you should rotate through them to give your wrists a break from repetitive movements. 

3. Use a light touch

Perhaps you don’t think much about the force of your typing while you’re hard at work. Forceful movements can increase your risk for carpal tunnel syndrome, so try to be more mindful about typing with a light touch. 

4. Be active in your personal life

A desk job doesn’t allow for much movement during the day. Still, being active in your personal life is beneficial to your overall health and can reduce your risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. Regular exercise helps improve your strength and flexibility. It also fights chronic inflammation, which can contribute to swelling and nerve damage in your wrist and elsewhere. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause permanent damage if you don’t take the necessary steps to treat or prevent it. If you’re concerned about carpal tunnel syndrome as an office worker, request an appointment online or over the phone at North Point Orthopaedics to discuss it with our experts.