Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a general term that is used to describe specific pain caused by repetitive movements and overuse. This type of injury typically affects the upper body, especially the wrist, forearm, hands and shoulders, and can involve stiffness and swelling.
A common cause of RSI is too much typing or mouse-work in the office. If your job requires you to sit at a desk typing a lot, it is worth keeping the following tips and exercises in mind.
- Position your keyboard low enough so that your elbows aren’t bent more than 90 degrees.
- Ensure your upper arms are positioned close to your body and aren’t relying on armrests for support.
- Consider using an ergonomic keyboard to help reduce tension in your wrists.
- Keep your wrists straight while typing.
- Try tilting your keyboard down at the top rather than using the feet of the keyboard and see if this helps.
- Don’t grip the mouse too hard and be gentle on the keys when typing.
- Keep your hands and joints warm so they don’t stiffen up.
- Take frequent breaks from typing and practice some stretches.
Wrist circles – start by having your elbows tucked in and at a 90 degree angle and make a gentle fist with each hand. Using only the wrist joint, slowly circle inwards 10-15 times. Circle in the opposite direction 10-15 times and repeat.
Wrist flexion – bend your right wrist downward and point your fingers towards the floor. Press your left palm against the outside of your right hand until you feel tension. Repeat this on the opposite hand.
Finger flexion and extension – start by using your right hand to gently press your left fingers down and back towards your palm. Press until you feel tension and repeat on the opposite hand. Next pull your left fingers up to stretch the opposite way and repeat on the other side.
Find out if physical therapy could benefit you on our physiotherapy page.