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How to Manage Hand Pain While Typing

With computers and smartphones, and the internet, the answers to your questions are a finger tap away. Though your devices make life convenient, repetitive typing and tapping can lead to hand pain.

At Orthopedic & Wellness in Frederick, Waldorf, and Germantown, Maryland, our orthopedic and pain management physicians, Dr. Ojedapo Ojeyemi and Dr. Matthew Roh, specialize in diagnosing and treating hand pain.

In this month’s blog, we cover hand pain while typing, what causes the discomfort, and how you can manage it.

About hand pain

Your hand is an intricate body part. It’s made up of several bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles that work together so you can grab, write, and type. 

Because you rely on your hands for so many daily tasks, they’re vulnerable to injuries and conditions that cause pain. Pain may affect any part of your hand, like joints, fingers, thumb, or palm.

Hand pain symptoms vary and may cause achiness, tingling, or numbness. Depending on the cause, hand pain can weaken your grip or cause swelling in your joints. 

Hand pain while typing

Typing is a repetitive activity that involves your fingers, thumb, and wrist. Repeating the same movements over and over may strain the tendons and muscles in your hand, leading to inflammation and pain. It may also wear away the cartilage that separates the joints.

There may be many causes behind hand pain while typing, such as:

Typing also keeps your wrist in a position that may irritate ligaments that form the carpal tunnel, causing swelling that pinches the median nerve as it passes through. If you have numbness, tingling, or pain that travels to your fingers and thumb on the palm side, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Repetitive typing is one of the contributing factors that may cause carpal tunnel syndrome. However, not everyone who types for a living develops this condition.

How to manage hand pain while typing

If regular typing is part of your job, you want to find effective treatments that manage the pain so it doesn’t impede your ability to work. 

One of the first things you can do is create an ergonomic workstation. Start with an ergonomic chair that helps you maintain good posture, allows your feet to remain flat on the floor, and has armrests that support the arm. Sitting in this position reduces stress on your wrists. 

You also want to adjust your keyboard so it’s at a height that keeps your elbows at a 90-degree angle and close to your side. A keyboard with a wrist support also helps.

If you continue to have pain while typing after improving your workstation, you may benefit from wearing a wrist brace. We also recommend taking five-minute breaks every 45 minutes when typing. Stand up and stretch your wrists and hands.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and icing at home may also provide pain relief.

When your hand pain is severe and conservative care no longer works, we can talk to you about other treatment options and pain management, such as injections or orthopedic surgery to correct the underlying cause of your hand pain.

Hand pain while typing isn’t normal. If you have this type of pain, call the Orthopedic & Wellness office nearest you or book an appointment online today. We can find the cause of your pain and develop a plan to manage it. 

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