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Using wrist supports are one way to cut down on the possibility of repetitive strain injury to the wrists, particularly when one uses a computer frequently. Wrist supports are a good idea, as are wrist rests, which can help bring the hands into a position which will incur less injury. There are many wrist supports to choose from, and the best are those that conform to the guidelines of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), of the US Government’s Department of Labor.
OSHA states that the placement of the hands most influences who will get repetitive strain injury. Before purchasing wrist supports, several adaptations to one’s workstation can help reduce strain. The further the hand must angle up from the wrist, as in typing, the more likely one will develop strain.
Thus the keyboard should be placed in a way that will allow the wrists to maintain a neutral position, with the hands not angled upward. Wrist rests can help one keep the fingers from typing at an angle much higher than the wrists, because it becomes a natural tendency to rest the wrists down. With a rest at the same height as the bottom of the keyboard, more support to the wrists is achieved, and the fingers are at a neutral level.
OSHA recommends wrist supports in the form of wrist rests as at least 1.5 inches (3.81 cm) high, and also that the supports should be relatively soft, providing some cushioning. OSHA suggests that the supports be rounded as this mimics the natural curves of the wrists. As well, wrist supports are recommended for those who frequently use a mouse, and should be rounded, higher up supports that keep the wrist neutral.
When people refer to wrist supports, they may actually be referring to a bracelike structure that is worn. It is usually made of elastic materials but inhibits the move of the hands upward. If one finds one can move the hands above the wrists while wearing these, the support may not be enough.
People may strain to preserve an incorrect position on the keyboard, which can actually damage the wrists more than it helps. Getting a doctor or physical therapist’s recommendations on appropriate wrist supports is helpful and will probably provide one with the best possible choices.
As well as using wrist supports, people should take breaks from long sessions at the computer. Physical therapists recommend a break every thirty minutes to every hour. This can help to realign the body so that constant strain on the wrists is not being incurred. In fact, many workplaces now institute hourly breaks or stretching to help reduce risk of employee injury.
I use to have to wear wrist braces when I typed. Though they helped ease my pain, they were also awkward. Looking for a better solution gave me the idea to try a wrist rest, or computer support pad. This simply item made a world of difference and allowed me retire my wrist braces.
In addition to temporarily wearing wrist support braces when typing, it is also important to get to the root of the problem. If you are experiencing wrist pain, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. You should visit your doctor for a correct diagnosis and to explore treatment options. Exercises, medications, and physical therapy are some of the treatments that may help you feel better and reduce your need for wearing wrist braces.
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