15 May Don’t be a plonker!
Choosing to ‘hover’ your wrists over your mouse or keyboard rather than ‘plonking’ or resting them on the surface in front of you can save you from a range of upper limb injuries.
As hand therapists, we see a lot of upper limb injuries associated with computer use. Many of today’s jobs require people to spend the majority of their working day sitting at a computer, undertaking repetitive tasks such as typing or clicking and moving a mouse. When we add up how many hours a day this is done, we begin to understand just how damaging it can be.
A big mistake that many people make is wrist ‘plonking’. Wrist plonking is when you rest on your wrists as you type or use the mouse. This means that your wrist and forearm muscles are lugged with all the work, whilst your big and abundant upper arm and shoulder muscles slacken off. More often than not, this also leads to slouching, which can go on to affect your neck and spine. Plonking can also cause a compression of the structures in your wrist, most commonly the median nerve, which results in the painful Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Good ergonomics is the solution
Rather than plonking your wrists on the desk in front of you, try to ‘hover’ your wrists instead. Hovering is when you hover your wrists over the keyboard and mouse instead of resting them down. Hovering not only helps you to avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, it also forces your shoulder muscles to help out!
Sitting up straight is also very important. If you sit up straight, you engage your core muscles including your shoulder stabilizing muscles. If your desk and chair are the correct height your wrists should be in a neutral position allowing you to hover.
Remember: You have a lot of muscles in your body. If you have to sit at a computer for 8 hours per day, it helps to engage as many of them as you can to take the load off your wrist
If you are experiencing hand or wrist pain, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to help you.
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