What You’ll Do: There are some typing habits that increase your chances of developing repetitive stress injury (RSI) and/or carpal tunnel syndrome. This week, we’ll point out some of the bad habits you may have, so that you can work on making changes in how you type. This can reduce the day-to-day strain on your hands and wrists.
How It Works: Paying attention to proper positioning of your hands and avoiding certain types of keystrokes can prevent potential damage to your hands and wrists. Learning to type properly may mean unlearning some typing habits. You’ll need about a week of concentration to fully adopt your new typing methods.
Get Motivated: Changing how you type is a simple way to reduce the strain of working at the computer on your body. Just making a few tweaks and adjustments could be the difference between healthy hands and painful ones. Let’s get started.
There are certain combinations of keystrokes that contort your hands and wrists. For example, try pressing “control-Y” with your left hand only. Anytime you need to do a key combination that involves holding down one key and pressing another, use both hands. This will seem strange at first, but will keep you from being twisted into strange positions. This applies to using the “shift” key too.
- Wrist rests can be confusing, because you really should not rest your wrists while you type. Think of them as a reminder not to rest your hands on the edge of a desk or table, but keep your wrists floating in the air when you type.
- Pay attention to any contortions that you do to reach keys and make key combinations; you may be making some very difficult stretches. Use both hands to make those key combinations.
- Don’t forget to keep up with the stretches at least three times each day.
- Turning your hands (knuckles on the table) over when pausing at the keyboard is a great way to give your wrists a break from being in the same position all day long. Get in the habit of turning your wrists over when thinking of the next sentence to write, talking on the phone or reading things on the computer.
Take your typing perfection to the next level by altering your workspace. Your keyboard should be below your elbows. Your monitor should be at eye level. Your back should be supported. Your feet should be squarely on the floor (don’t sit with crossed legs for any length of time). Your screen should be at arm’s length away from you. Assess your workstation, and make all the changes you can.
Here is the whole program. Give each one a solid one-week try, and then come back and do the next one. If you want a reminder, sign up for the Prevent RSI E-Course. It is free, and you’ll get short e-mail reminders each day to help keep you on track.