Work needn't be a pain in the hand and/or wrist
Wrist supports can be a godsend to anyone who has ever experienced hand or wrist pain due to a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), which can make even the smallest tasks excruciatingly painful when you're not wearing wrist supports.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health(NIOSH), hand and wrist MSDs can result from work-induced injuries resulting from the following factors:
- Repetition - excessive repetitive tasks without frequent breaks.
- Force - too much exertion causes injury.
- Posture - lack of ergonomic, neutral positions during work.
Each of the above workplace factors, on their own or in combination, can result in these conditions:
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- hand / wrist tendonitis
- hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).
While OSHA doesn't have a mandatory standard, it does provide ergonomic guidelines for specific industries which recommend
- assessment of ergonomic hazards
- work routines that maintain neutral body positions
- regularly scheduled work breaks
- rotation of tasks to avoid overuse.
Wrist supports enhance ergonomic approach
Wrist supports can be beneficial because they mimic the work of a ligament, keeping the wrist in a neutral position and limiting flexion and extension of the wrist, while allowing for full finger movement. Thumb loops have an added benefit of keeping wrist supports in their proper position.
The fabric used in the wrist support needs to offer durability, flexibility and breathability / removal of moisture.
Workers need wrist supports that are easy to put on, take off and adjust for fit. Velcro closures are preferred for heavy-duty jobs.
When it comes to desk jobs, the key is maintaining a neutral, ergonomic sitting position. Palm / wrist supports help by creating a curved, neutral and elevated surface to rest the hands and arms on during keyboarding.
Steps to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome
Here are some tips from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke that workers can follow to protect hands and wrists from injuries:
- Perform stretching and conditioning exercises.
- Take frequent rest breaks.
- Wear wrist supports / splints to keep wrists straight.
- Use correct posture and wrist position.