By Wendy van Wyk, Registered Biokineticist

I have recently had several clients coming to me with complaints regarding wrist pain whilst working at their desks. If you work in an office job, repetitive hand and wrist movements involved in various tasks, such as typing, or mouse use can make you susceptible to wrist pain.

Office workers typically develop wrist pain after performing repetitive movements day after day in ergonomically incorrect environments.

While wrist pain can interfere with your ability to perform your responsibilities comfortably, it can also affect your productivity. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common source of wrist pain, and also a very common reason for lost days due to illnesses and injuries.

What is Carpal tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome, also called median nerve compression, is a condition that causes pain, numbness, or weakness in your hands. It happens because of pressure on your median nerve, which runs the length of your arm. Anything that irritates the nerves that run down into the wrist can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.

This is particularly relevant to workstation ergonomics due to the fact that poor seated posture is a significant risk factor for increased stress to the median nerve.

Risk Factors in the office environment:

  • Having your chair too low in relation to the desk.
  • The wrists are cocked into extension because the keyboard is too high.
  • The wrists digging into the edge of the desk.

How Can Office Ergonomics Help To Prevent Wrist Pain?

Arranging your activity and workspace using ergonomic guidelines can help prevent wrist pain.

There are quite a few ergonomic solutions that can prevent/reduce wrist discomfort and pain. These include:

  • Ensuring correct work surface and chair height
  • Correct keyboard height
  • Adequate monitor placement
  • A wrist rest for a more neutral wrist angle (that does not put extra pressure on the wrist)
  • A mousepad to decrease “mouse drifting” and misalignment
  • Footrest to support feet (if required) which will, in turn reduce lower back strain and improve your posture
  • Sometimes, in severe cases bracing might be required

Our Ergonomicsdirect team can assist in doing an ergonomic assessment of your workstation, and can then advise which solutions and products will meet your specific requirements to reduce/prevent your wrist pain.

Till next time, please stay safe out there.

Yours in Ergonomics



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