Desk damage: How to prevent carpal tunnel & wrist tendonitis


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If you type nonstop at a desk or do a lot of lifting every day, you’re probably no stranger to pain in the wrist and hands. But if you have certain symptoms like numbness or tingling, or pain that doesn’t go away, you could have carpal tunnel syndrome or wrist tendonitis, common problems that result from repetitive motion in the wrist. Check out these symptoms and preventive measures to keep your wrists strong and safe.

Carpal tunnel: Carpal tunnel is three times more prevalent in women and most often affects people in food service, music, retail and desk jobs. Early symptoms include tingling or numbness in the thumb, index and middle fingers, according to the Cleveland Clinic. As the problem persists, it can become difficult to hold on to small objects, and you may even drop what you’re holding without realizing it.

  • Prevent it: Make sure you keep your wrists straight when typing, playing piano, sleeping, etc. If you sit at a desk, check that your chair isn’t too low, forcing you to type with your wrists at an upward angle. Try using a wrist brace if you feel uncomfortable.


Wrist tendonitis: Tendonitis is usually caused by small, repetitive motions, like typing, painting or lifting. Like carpal tunnel, symptoms include pain, inflammation and loss of motion around the tendon. In tendonitis, however, there is a central point where the pain feels like it’s coming from, and you won’t feel the tingling sensation associated with carpal tunnel.

  • Prevent it: Follow the same rules as carpal tunnel by keeping your wrists straight. If you play a lot of sports, or just like to throw a Frisbee around, make sure to warm up beforehand, and stop playing if your wrists start to get sore.