If you’re using computers and keyboards for extended periods of time, you’ll know of the dangers of repetitive strain injury, or RSI for short. By doing repetitive motions with your fingers as you type, you open up the possibility of doing damage to your hand. As such, if you’re working a typist job or are simply a very avid computer user, it’s a good idea to have some anti-RSI strategies in play to stop any serious damage. This article listen six ways that you can find below.
1. Take Regular Breaks
The best way to prevent damage performed by repetitive actions is to stop doing the action! Ensure you’re not typing for long periods of time without pause. If you’re guilty of “getting into the flow” without realising it, set a timer to alert you when it’s time to take a break. You could also use a word processor that tracks your word count in real time and opt to relax your hands after you hit specific milestones.
If you have difficulty finding out when to take a break, there are several software tools for various OSes that you can use to force yourself to take a break at a regular interval.
2. Check Your Posture
Correct posture is a crucial step to helping prevent RSI. RSI Pain Relief recommends sitting with your back straight and fully supported, monitor at eye level, with your keyboard at around elbow height. If you catch yourself slouching, be sure to correct your posture before continuing.
3. Try a Wrist Pad
Wrist pads fit nicely under your arms and give your hands some additional support. Ideally, your typing posture should keep your wrists above the pads, so they’re not used while you type; however, if you have lazy hands or need somewhere to rest them after a typing burst, a pad can help.
They come in all shapes and sizes, so you can find one that suits you regardless of whether you use a laptop or computer keyboard. There are even pads for mice usage, so you can cover every single base. Here are a few top brands of wrist pads to try.
4. Use a Hand Exerciser During Breaks
During your typing breaks you don’t have to sit around doing nothing. Why not give your hands some exercise and help relieve the symptoms of RSI? There are many different ways you can do this, from stress balls to finger exercisers to therapy putty. They’re usually small enough to keep on your desk, so you can grab them whenever the mood strikes you. A few variants on hand exercisers include:
5. Try an Ergonomic Keyboard
Ergonomic keyboards are shaped in a funny way but for good reason: they improve upon the base design of a keyboard by making it contort to the shape of the hand. This means your hand is straining less to hit the keys and reducing the RSI risk as a result. Here are a few top picks to get you started:
HandStands Ergonomic Keyboard (comes with its own wrist rest!)
6. Switch to a Trackball Mouse
We have covered the benefits of using a trackball mouse, and one of them is comfort and ergonomics that will reduce the chance of a RSI, not to mention that it is really handy on a desk with limited space.
Resisting the Strain
Repetitive strain injury is a very real problem for typists and computer enthusiasts everywhere. There are plenty of ways to help stave off the effects before you need to go in for surgery. Now you know some of the ways as well as some great products to get you started.
Do you have any tips for staving off RSI? Let us know below!