Did you know that the average person spends at least three hours a day using a keyboard while doing work, writing emails, messaging, using social networks, and other tasks in front of the computer? The amount of time we spend typing isn’t usually associated with long-term health problems.
However, improper posture and typing methods can lead to serious musculoskeletal issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Below, we take an in-depth look at the importance of ergonomic typing. We’ll begin by explaining some of the potential health risks that come with improper typing positions. Next, we’ll explain the proper typing posture and offer a few ideas for how businesses can help their workers adopt the best ergonomic typing position.
Health Risks From Improper Typing Positions
According to one orthopedic medical professional:
“Recent research shows that carpal tunnel isn’t likely a result of typing if you type less than 20
hours per week. However, if you type more than 28 hours per week, you’re more likely to have an
increased risk for the syndrome. Some research indicates that carpal tunnel could also result
from the position of your hand on your computer mouse.”
If we take the average of three hours per day typing, most workers are under the 28-hour threshold. However, secretaries, writers, and other office workers will most likely spend significantly longer hours each day typing. Improper typing hand position, may then be a leading cause of carpal tunnel syndrome for these types of workers.
Improper typing position can lead to swelling in the wrists, hands, and fingers. It can also put added pressure on nerves, thus resulting in progressive pain or tingling in the fingers, hands, or arms. Gradual weakness in the thumb and poor grip strength are two other common complaints. If you experience any of these, please consult your medical provider. In case of emergency, especially sudden weakness, numbness or tingling or any other sudden symptoms, call 911 immediately.
Lastly, inappropriate typing positions also generally accompany poor sitting posture. This can lead to pain in the shoulders, neck, and back.
In the long-term, bad posture while at a desk can even cause spinal dysfunction, joint degeneration, rounded shoulders, and other long-term musculoskeletal disorders.
Proper Typing Posture and How to Motivate Workers to Adopt Ergonomic Typing Positions
Proper typing posture is focused on three main areas:
- Wrist Placement
Ergonomic typing requires keeping your wrists in a neutral position. This means you create a straight line from your forearm to your hand, rather than bending your wrist up or down. An ergonomic mouse, padded mouse pad and/or keyboard pad can all help achieve neutral wrist.
- Placement of the Keyboard
To achieve a neutral wrist position, proper placement of the keyboard is essential. Ideally, all keyboards should be below elbow level, flat on the desk, or gently sloping away from the worker. Also, proper chair height ensures that the elbows are flexed at a slightly open angle between 90-110 degrees. This helps to reduce stress on shoulders and arms while typing.
- Proper Posture
Lastly, ergonomic typing requires that workers adopt proper sitting technique. Feet flat on the floor and an erect back that is touching your chair back help to ensure the previous two recommendations.
To help your workers adopt the best ergonomic typing practices, investing in the proper equipment is key. Ergonomic keyboards, ergonomic desks, and ergonomic office chairs all play an important role in helping your workers adopt the best typing positions.
Make Your Workplace Ergonomic With Work-Fit
If you or your employees spend long hours in front of a computer, Work-Fit can help! Get started today by taking our Office Ergonomic Self-Assessment! Work-Fit also offers full office ergonomic assessment with one of our providers, equipment recommendations and injury prevention coaching for your office workforce. If your team spends long hours in front of the computer, let us help reduce postural and positional stress, and improve employee wellness. Contact Work-Fit today to learn about how we can help your team!
Work-Fitis a leading company that offers onsite and telehealth injury prevention and wellness management for your workforce. As the nationwide leader in applying sports medicine techniques in the workplace, we can help your company prevent injuries, create healthy employees and increase your bottom line.
Our ergonomics program will generate savings on worker’s compensation by identifying the root cause of recurrent sprain, strain and other musculoskeletal disorders keeping valuable workers away from the job.