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Repetitive Stress Injuries
Hands  (Computer Related)
Wrists (Computer Related)
Prevention Exercises and Other Ways To Prevent RSI


Hands (Computer Related)

How To Give Your Hands A Rest By Using A Trackball And Setting Up Your Keyboard to Click Like A Mouse
The goal is to avoid using the same muscles and tendons over and over again. Think about each time you grab the mouse, move around and click. Often you can aggravate your hand muscles just by cupping the mouse. Let alone by moving it.  And the constant pointing and clicking is a recipe for disaster! 

Back in 2009, I remember that my hands would throb at night and even on weekends. The same went for long drives. My hands tingled and throbbed on the steering wheel. And they tingled and throbbed when I was trying to sleep! It got so bad I almost quit my job as a document review attorney. My choices seemed to be getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or opting for unemployment. But thanks to the information below I was able to keep my job and stop my hands from hurting.

Buying A Trackball
To prevent injury, you should have several methods of moving around and clicking. You'll also want the option of switching fingers or hands to accomplish these tasks. A big danger is that we get lazy or comfortable using the same hand or fingers over and over again. It's called repetitive stress injury for a reason! So to avoid RSI, spread the love to every hand and finger.

First, I suggest you get a trackball (a mouse with a large ball in the middle). The trackball is a quick and easy way to move your cursor around the screen. It also saves your hands from constantly gripping and curling. You can move the ball with the palm of either hand.  Or, if you like, move anywhere on your screen with just a single finger.

Consider buying one that is neither right or left handed. The best trackballs are the ones with the ball in smack in the center. So when your hands get tired, you can switch hands or fingers with ease.   

New Or Used Trackballs

For about $30, Logitech's “Marble Mouse” is fairly inexpensive and well worth it. Or for a few dollars more, try the Kensington Orbit® Optical Trackball. Experiment with where you put it. You can try positioning it midway between both hands so it's close to either of them.  But do what's easiest for you. Just be sure you aren't over reaching, which can strain your wrist and forearm. For those on a budget, try looking for a used trackball on Amazon.

Changing Your Keyboard To Click Like A Mouse (Not For MAC USERS)
Next, you'll need to activate Mouse Keys. Mouse Keys is a Windows program already on your computer. It allows you to click by pressing the + or the number 5 on your number pad.  Use the +to double click open any files or folders. Use the #5 For single clicking such as when checking a form box or clicking on hyperlinks. 

Activating mouse keys is extremely simple.
1. Get To Your Control Panel
2. Click on EASE OF ACCESS
3. Under EASE of ACCESS CENTER, click CHANGE HOW YOUR KEYBOARD WORKS
<<<you will see many options but ignore everything except "Make the keyboard easier to use">>>
4. Check the box TURN ON MOUSE KEYS
5. In OTHER SETTINGS (at bottom) choose whether you want mousekeys to work when NUM LOCK is on or off.
6. Click Apply and OK

If you want to, you can alternate between the trackball and your keypad. For me, I use the ball to move the pointer, but do all my clicking with the numeric keypad.

Whenever you're not typing, keep your hands flat and not hovering. Or shake them out once in a while.  For middle aged lawyers like me (who stare at a lot of documents) you can rest your hands on your chest or stomach until you start typing or clicking again.

See Troubleshooting if your keyboard no longer clicks.

Other Stuff You Can Do But Don't Need To!

Using Your Key Board To Move Around (Making Your Mouse Cursor Move With The Numbers Keypad )

1. Follow through step 4 above
2. Adjust Pointer Speed to HIGH
3. Click box "Hold Down CTL to speed up or SHIFT to slow down"
4. Click Apply and OK

Keyboard/Mouse Moves (Allows You To Move Anywhere On Screen)

    (To Move Faster Hold Down CTRL and any #below)

2 = Up
8 = Down
4 = Left
6 = Right
7 = Diagonally-Top Left
9 = Diagonally-Top Right
1 = Diagonally-Bottom Left

 

Page Down: Use your Space Bar or Page Down Key (should click on text first)
Page Up: Use the Page Up Key or Hold Down the Space Bar and Press Shift
Top of Page: Use “Home” Key
Bot of Page: Use “End” Key

Using Your Key Board To Select Text, Cut, Copy and Paste
Hold down the SHIFT or CONTROL Keys along with any of the keys below, To avoid stress on your hands, be sure to Use a Different Hand For Each Button, i.e. use one hand to press Shift and the other hand to press HOME, END, etc.

To Select All=Control and A or ++ (click plus sign twice)
To Select Some=SHIFT and DOWN ARROW
To Select Text to the Left= SHIFT and HOME (Selects a line of Text to the left of your cursor)
To Select Text To the Right (SHIFT and END: Selects a line of Text to the right of your cursor)
To Cut=CONTROL and X.
To Copy= CONTROL and C.
To Paste=CONTROL and V.

TROUBLESHOOTING

Occasionally, the keyboard won't click and the laptop or PC will need to be rebooted so it will work again. This happens from time to time such as when the computer hasn't been rebooted for a while. Sometimes it happens when you've pressed another key such as the minus sign. Note: Microsoft Edge is a bad browser for this.  Use Firefox, Chrome or some other browser if clicking with your keyboard is important to you.

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Wrists (Computer Related)

Wrist Support
For weak or hurting wrists, buy wrist support straps. Your local drug store has these for under $20. For greater wrist/hand support, buy the support traps with glove. Sometimes your wrists just need a rest. So try sleeping for a night or two with your wrists secure in the support straps. This keeps them straight and allows them to heal faster. One night with the support straps can make all the difference. Be careful about making them to tight. Tight wrist straps can cut off circulation.


Prevention Exercises and Other Tips

Using Proper Technique: Typing, Mousing, and Writing

Illustrations for Hand, Wrist, Back and Neck Exercises

Hand And Wrist Exercises to Prevent RSI
Wrist Curls and Reverse Wrist Curls with a 5 pound weight really work!

Point & Click RSI (YouTube Videos on How To Prevent)   

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Repetitive Stress Injuries