More and more people have foregone the traditional desktop computer for a laptop. Not only are laptops convenient and powerful, they allow people to get work done on the go. Unfortunately, typing and repetitive motions are bound to affect your hands and wrists. It’s led many people in the Atlanta and Marietta, GA to contact The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery with questions about laptops and their effects on hand health.
Below we’d like to provide some answers to these questions. Dr. Steven Bailey is experienced hand, finger, and wrist surgeon, and he can address more of your concerns in greater detail during a visit to our practice.
Typing and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
When discussing laptop use and wrist pain, we’re ultimately discussing carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition involves compression of the median nerve that runs from the forearm to the hand through a narrow passage in the wrist known as the carpal tunnel.
Typing is one of the common actions associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. While typing itself does not cause carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive hand motions such as typing can lead to conditions that narrow the carpal tunnel.
Does Laptop Use Make Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Worse?
Using a laptop can lead to worse issues with carpal tunnel syndrome. It turns out that the convenience of laptops comes with an unfortunate ergonomic cost.
Why Typing on a Laptop Isn’t Ideal
Typing on a laptop isn’t as ideal as typing on a traditional keyboard for a variety of reasons. For one, your wrists are not in a neutral position while typing on a laptop, which puts a lot of pressure on them. Over time, this can take its toll.
In addition, many people type in positions that are not ergonomically sound. With a laptop in your lap, your hands and wrists may not be in an ideal position; in fact, your shoulders and neck may also be arched in an uncomfortable way. The compact keyword size of a laptop can also cause your body to scrunch up in a way that makes carpal tunnel and other kinds of discomfort more likely.
Ways to Reduce Wrist Pain While Using Your Laptop
To reduce wrist and hand pain while using your laptop, consider the following tips:
- Consider a Laptop Tray/Desk - Laptop trays and desks angle your laptop, allowing your wrists to achieve a more relaxed position while you are typing.
- Consider Wrist Rests - Wrist rest pads can help relieve the stress on your wrists while typing. They’re ideal if you use a laptop on a desk or table.
- Resting Your Hands - Take a break from long spells of writing. Every 30 minutes, rest your hands for about 5 minutes. A brief periodic reprieve can work wonders for the wrists.
- Practice Good Posture - Sitting straight can prevent injury and strain on your body. If you’re using a laptop at work, discuss an ideal set up for your work station with an ergonomics expert at your job.
Contact Our Hand and Wrist Surgery Team
For more information about hand and wrist health and how our team can help you, be sure to contact a skilled hand and wrist surgeon. You can count on the team at The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery to provide straightforward answers and practical advice.