Carpal tunnel and a mouse: What’s the connection?

Occupational diseases continue to be a growing concern for employees. Many people now have jobs that require them to sit and work at a computer for a majority of the day. Even with the help of ergonomic chairs and ergonomic assessments, the risk of an injury such as carpal tunnel still exists.

Carpal tunnel is an occupational disease that can develop over a period of time. But it’s not just the motion of typing on a keyboard or using a computer mouse that can cause carpal tunnel, as most people would believe. Carpal tunnel can be caused by any type of work that is repetitive and requires a bit of force.

For employees who do spend a lot of time at a computer, there are a few ways to reduce the risk of developing carpal tunnel. One option is to make sure you are taking enough breaks to stretch your fingers, hands and arms. Another option is to make sure that you have an ergonomic workspace. This can involve purchasing a laptop stand or adjusting your chair, taking into account the height at which your hands rest on the keyboard.

While technology may aid in the development of an occupational disease like carpal tunnel, technology can also help solve the problem as well. For example, an ergonomic mouse could help “reduce stress along the wrists, arms and elbows.” One recently designed computer mouse, while funny looking to most, was designed with the palm in mind. Rather than uncomfortably clenching a mouse in a claw-like position, this new mouse is intended to provide more comfort for the user.

While there is no guarantee that a mouse can prevent the development of carpal tunnel, it doesn’t hurt for employees to bring new products to their employers. After all, employers should be promoting a safe workplace because if workplace injuries do occur, the employee is entitled to benefits.

Source: Tom’s Hardware, “Spire Archer I Ergonomic Mouse Could Solve Carpal Tunnel,” Billy Taylor, Nov. 11, 2013.

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