Online Safety Community

Avoiding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at the Keyboard
Many more people use computers than they did just ten years ago. A bi-product of this computer revolution has been an increased occurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS. Continued, repetitive movements such as using a keyboard can damage the tendons that run from the hands to the forearms. If not dealt with properly, this damage progresses and causes extensive pain and limited hand use.
Within the hand and wrist there is a collection of bones, tendons and nerves. This area is tunnel-shaped and not very roomy. If you flex your hand over and over again, as you do when you type, you cause these tendons in your wrists to rub against each other, leading to irritation. The irritation results in swelling, and those swollen tendons then press against what is called the median nerve, causing tingling, numbness and eventually significant pain.
Causes of CTS
Several factors can lead to CTS:
* Genetics - The smaller amount of natural lubrication you have in those tendons, the greater you are at risk.
* Health/Lifestyle - Individuals with conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hormonal changes (pregnancy or menopause), a high stress lifestyle, or alcoholism are prone to CTS.
* Repetitive Motion - Repeated hand and finger flexing causes irritation.
* Trauma - Damage to hands or wrists can cause swelling of the tendons.
Preventing CTS
While you can't change your genetics, there are several ways to prevent CTS. By monitoring your body positions and what activities you are doing with your hands, you can function somewhat normally if CTS is already present. But most importantly, you need to learn what proper ergonomics (work place design) and work habits can do to live free of CTS:
* Chairs - Wheeled, adjustable height chairs with armrests are ideal.
* Tables - Choose a table or desk height that allows your arm to sit at a 90-degree angle to your body. 27 to 29 inches above the floor is recommended.
* Wrist angle - Adjust your keyboard height, or use wrist rest, so wrists are aligned with forearms while working. Consider changing your style of keyboard, using a track ball or a different mouse if you cannot achieve this position otherwise.
* Elbow angle - Raise your seat height if your arm angle is less than 90 degrees. Lower it if it is more than 90 degrees.
* Waist angle - Your waist should be 90 degrees to your legs when seated. If it is less, raise chair height. If the angle is greater, lower the chair height.
* Feet - Feet should touch the floor. Use a footrest or different chair if this is not the case.
* Work habits - Take a short break every 10-15 minutes. Vary your tasks as much as possible.
* Stretching - Strengthen and stretch your hands often.
o Clench your fists, hold, then spread your fingers out and hold. Repeat.
o With outstretched arms, repeatedly raise and lower your hands.
o Rotate your wrists repeatedly.
* Diet - Include vitamin B6 in your diet.
Although cases of CTS have increased as office jobs increase, extensive keyboard use does not have to lead to CTS. It's amazing how creating safe work areas can make such a difference. CTS is a serious condition, but fortunately it is preventable.

Views: 80

Take our poll!

Take our poll!

Latest Activity

Alex posted a blog post

Recycling dangers and how to avoid them

Image credit: Mark Riechers viawww.unsplash.comThere is a danger that we try to recycle absolutely everything these days, when realistically not everything can be recycled.  We are also predispositioned to recycle all our household waste, but there are a few dangers we should all be aware of. We recycle paper, glass, plastic, tin cans, cardboard, food, electrical items, clothing, footwear and plenty of other consumables.  However, some of these items can…See More
1 hour ago
Training Doyens updated an event
Thumbnail

HR Auditing: Important Issues for 2018 at 26468 E Walker Dr, Aurora, Colorado 80016-6104

January 16, 2018 from 1pm to 2:30pm
OVERVIEWThere are numerous external and internal forces and factors that have an impact on organizations.  Increasingly this list includes the strategic, tactical, and legal activities of managing their human capital. Like the management of their financial capital, effective management of organizations’ human capital plays a critical role in determining their success. And like the benefits of financial audits, HR audits provide management with a method of determining whether human capital is…See More
1 hour ago
Training Doyens posted events
2 hours ago
John Robinson posted events
2 hours ago

Discussion Forum

The High Incidence of MSDs

A recent study shows that most companies attribute the high incidence of MSDs to:Reduction of other types of injuries. As a result of programs focused on reducing and eliminating mechanical,…Continue

Tags: msd, safety, workplace, ergonomics

Started by Jay D. Rohman Dec 28, 2015.

Ring Scanners - Ergonomics Question

A member of my association is looking to purchase ring scanners for an inventory system. She am concerned with the ergonomics of some of the heavier wrist units and wondering if anyone has any…Continue

Started by Cory Zielke Jul 17, 2012.

Avoiding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at the Keyboard

Avoiding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at the KeyboardMany more people use computers than they did just ten years ago. A bi-product of this computer revolution has been an increased occurrence of carpal…Continue

Started by Ken Oswald Jul 6, 2012.

Ergonomic Tips for your workstation

Ergonomic Tips: Workstation1. Adjust your chair and other workstation components every time you sit down.2. A study was done indicating that more controls on an ergonomic chair meant longer time to…Continue

Started by Ken Oswald May 11, 2012.

Ergonomic Tips for the Office Worker

Ergonomic Tips: Tidbits for Office Workers1. What are the ergonomic risk factors that you should be aware of when you evaluate your job and how you do it? They are Repetition, Force, Posture,…Continue

Started by Ken Oswald May 11, 2012.

Badge

Loading…

© 2017   Created by Safety Community.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service