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Ow! Tips for Reducing or Preventing Wrist Injuries

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By Mark Wilson, Esq. on September 19, 2014 7:06 AM

Being chained to the word processor all day means that you're going to develop aches and pains in your various joints. Wrists are especially at risk for repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) because they're at the junction of muscles and bones we flex a lot. 

Is there any way you can mitigate this problem -- especially in your precious wrists, those things that help you type the URLs to your favorite cat videos? Yes, there is: follow this advice to help save your wrists.

Don't Rest Your Wrists on Your Desk

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the Grand Poobah of wrist injuries. It's caused when the passageway through the arm from the forearm to the wrist -- the carpal tunnel -- becomes inflamed, impacting the median nerve located in the carpal tunnel. Symptoms include tingling in the fingers and discomfort in the wrist and hand, says the Mayo Clinic. 

The carpal tunnel can become irritated and swollen by resting the wrist on the edge of a desk while typing. Keep your hands in a neutral position above and parallel to your keyboard.

Take Breaks

One way to avoid -- or at least mitigate -- any kind of repetitive stress injury is to take frequent breaks to let the tissues rest for a bit. Busy lawyers might not think that's an option, but you can take five minutes out of every hour to refill your coffee cup. 

If you need to be forced into it, there's a whole cottage industry of software that you can install on your computer that will do everything from popping up to remind you to take a break to forcibly disabling your computer for a few minutes each hour. Your pick, of course.

Compression

Other nasty RSIs include tendonitis and bursitis. Tendons you know, but bursae you might not. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that, like adorable little gaskets, cushion the space between bones. Tendons, of course, attach muscles to bones. Again, frequent, repetitive motion can cause swelling and inflammation of these delicate parts. 

One way to help alleviate RSIs in the wrist is to wear a wrist brace: anything that compresses the joint is good, so the brace can be anything from a simple ACE bandage to a more complicated Velcro-type brace.

Switch Out Your Keyboard

Many people with RSI problems swear by the Microsoft "Natural" keyboards. You may have seen them before: they're weird-looking, wavy keyboards that are, believe it or not, designed to minimize wrist injuries. They're now called "Sculpt" keyboards, but don't worry: they're as wavy as they ever were. (Don't skimp on an ergonomic mouse, either.)

Have you dealt with a wrist injury at work? Tweet us your feel better tips @FindLawLP.

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