Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) can be not only annoying but also severely painful and costly for employees and businesses. Although every case will be unique with different contributing factors and treatments, there are plenty of ways to help address RSIs. Most commonly, employees will experience RSIs from repeated actions and movements such as typing, clicking, and moving their mice.
Along with using office devices such as an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, there are a variety of hand and finger stretches employees can perform to help improve their dexterity, flexibility, and strength. With regular movement, employees can increase their level of comfort throughout the workday, and help relieve the tension that builds up in joints through repetitive movements. Learn to perform these exercises, then train employees to use them in combination with high-quality ergonomic devices.
1. Form a Fist and Stretch for Typing Fatigue
Stretching the palms and making a fist repeatedly can help employees relieve fatigue in their hands. This is especially useful if they spend the majority of their day typing. This exercise is very easy and quick to do at the start of the day or when an employee needs to take a break. To do this exercise, simply make a gentle fist with your thumb across your fingers. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds before releasing, stretching your fingers and palm as wide as you can.
2. Finger Stretches to Ease Tension From Generic Mice
The mice that come with computers are rarely built with comfort or ergonomics in mind. Commonly, they’re relatively flat and offer little support. An important step for workplace wellness is to outfit every workstation with an ergonomic mouse, and stretching can also help employees. To perform this stretch, simply lay your palm down flat on a surface with your fingers outstretched. Try to stretch them as much as you can without pain.
3. Finger Stretches for Repetitive Motions
Employees may need additional relief from repetitive finger motions. Simply place your palm down as in the previous exercise except for this time, you’ll gently lift one finger at a time as far as you can. This provides much-needed relief for tight ligaments and joints from repetitive typing and clicking motions.
4. Thumb Mobility Exercises for Flexibility
Our thumbs are crucial for a variety of things in and outside of the office. They can also be susceptible to RSIs with improper use over time. To help with thumb mobility, you can perform thumb touches. Simply hold your hand out in front of you, ensuring to keep your wrist straight. Then, touch each of your four fingers with your thumb. Hold the position for a few seconds before moving onto the next finger.
5. Create a Claw to Prevent the Claw
In more severe RSIs, your hands could feel locked up into a claw shape. To help reduce this potential, you can stretch your joints and fingers using the claw stretch. Hold your hand out with your palm facing you. Close your fingertips to the base of your fingers to form a tight claw. Hold this position to stretch out the exterior of your fingers.
Putting It All Together
While these exercises aren’t guaranteed to prevent RSIs, stretching in any shape or form can be very beneficial to keep RSIs from developing. Remember that stretches alone won’t make all the difference. Make sure that your employees also have the right ergonomic equipment to help keep them comfortable, happy, and to encourage productivity.