Repetitive Strain Injuries – The Same Old Story
By: Guest author Izzy Woods
Your grandparents must have told you dozens of stories about how they used to write with a pen before the great upgrade arrived – the typewriter. What they will never tell you is the problems typewriters caused for users even before electric models came in.
Repetitive strain injuries have been around for decades, but many didn’t know what the pain was and what caused it. To give an example; if you typed 60 words per minute and worked just a six hour day – so you still took your lunch break – you’d have typed around 18,000 key strokes each hour. Each movement required 8 ounces of pressure which equates to 54,000 pounds being pressed by fingers attached to sore wrists.
27 Tons of Arm Pressure
This is the equivalent of 27 tons of pressure being applied to your hand muscles each day. And remember, there was no delete button back then so if you made a mistake, you probably had to start all over again.
The addition of electricity reduced the amount of pressure needed to type, but you still had to keep your hands in the same position all day long so you could type faster – more words each minute. Then came the computer and then the mouse.
Instead of moving ten fingers around the keyboard, we now moved to one position on the right of the keyboard, even if you were left handed. (Left handed mice came much later.) Yes, you still typed with one or both hands, but most movements had to fit around the mouse.
Then the mouse evolved. Many different styles, sizes and so called ergonomic options became available, but they still didn’t address the main problem – the need for the wrist to remain in one place for hours at a time and more significantly, at the wrong angle when you need to apply pressure.
The U.S. department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) tells us that repetitive strain injury is the country’s most widespread and expensive health problem. The difficulty affects hundreds of thousands of workers across the U.S. with a price tag estimated at more than $20 billion each year in compensation for workers.
Almost two-thirds of all occupational illnesses relate to the wrist, elbow or shoulder. The most usual injury is carpal tunnel syndrome. The words are so well known these days that the medical term doesn’t need explaining.
OSHA reported that repetitive motions, like gripping tools, scanning groceries and typing, caused the longest nonappearances from occupations. On average the time away could last up to 23 days. There are so many carpal tunnel injuries that surgeons now report that repair is the second most common hospital procedure.
And the problem is likely to get worse as we spend more time at our desks. After a full day at work, you rush to turn your home computer on and either surf or play games for hours on end until it’s time to go back to work again. Most games on computers are played via the mouse. So is there a solution to the problem?
A Change in Style
Perhaps there is. The Handshoe mouse is one of the most advanced solutions to enable you to handle your computer work without strain. Available in both left and right hand versions (because, in case you haven’t noticed, our hands are different) it has a new design that helps people with RSI back to work much quicker.
One of the key aspects of the mouse is a rest for the thumb, which is an alternative to gripping the mouse with the thumb while getting it ready to click for web navigation. Maybe this mouse will help you use the computer more comfortably and will get people out of the reclining chair and back to work.
More information about repetitive strain injuries on this HandShoe Mouse blog.