How Desk Jobs Can Contribute to Hand, Wrist and Elbow Injuries

Office worker working at his desk while eating a saladAlthough your office job might not seem like it’s dangerous, it could still be impacting your health and well being in a negative way.

You may not face any extreme hazards or overt risks on a daily basis while you’re sitting at your desk working on your computer, but the truth is you may still be at risk for hand, wrist and elbow injuries.  

So what about your daily routine at the office can potentially cause these injuries? We’ll break it down!

Understanding Musculoskeletal Disorders Exacerbated By Office Work

Various muscle, tendon, and nerve disorders can be caused by working at a desk or on a computer on a daily basis. These types of injuries are typically referred to as musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs.  Thought experts haven’t yet pinpointed one single cause behind MSDs, there are various risk factors. One is potentially due to genetics, others may be related to other health conditions like pregnancy, menopause, diabetes, obeisty and rheumatoid arthritis.

Though MSDs symptoms may be caused by ergonomic factors found in the workplace, they can be caused in other ways as well, including hobbies, sports, driving, and even sleeping positions.

What Exacerbates Hand, Wrist & Elbow Injuries at Work?

When they are triggered in the workplace, MSDs are often caused by the following:

Repetitive motions

Doing the same motion over and over with few breaks, for instance while entering data for long periods of time, can cause the onset of MSDs.

Staying in one position

Sitting still in one position for long periods of time can cause your muscles and tendons to fatigue, which can contribute to musculoskeletal disorders.

Cold temperatures

Working in an office environment with consistently cold temperatures can put you at risk for MSDs.

Pressure on nerves or tendons

Putting constant pressure on certain parts of the body – for instance, having your wrist constantly resting in a specific way on your desk while you’re typing – can also contribute to the development of an MSD.

Joints in non-neutral positions

Sitting/standing awkwardly at your desk for long periods of time or performing tasks that require you to keep your joints beyond their mid-range of motion over time can cause hand, wrist, and elbow injuries.  

What is the Most Common Condition or Injury Related to Desk Jobs?

Not surprisingly, carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common condition affected by office work. Using a computer or mouse on a regular basis, like most office workers do, can contribute to the development of this condition, or worsen symptoms when the condition is underlying.

Often, it’s a combination of risk factors that causes the condition. When you are diagnosed with carpal tunnel, it typically will not be attributed to one specific thing.

You can learn more about carpal tunnel and the treatment options available for it here.

Think You Have a Hand, Wrist or Elbow Injury Related to Office Work?

If you think you are developing a musculoskeletal disorder as the result of working in an office, you should see a doctor who specializes in hand, wrist and arm conditions immediately. Most MSDs are treatable if they are caught early, so taking action as soon as you sense the first sign of discomfort is a good idea.

These types of hand, wrist and elbow injuries are also highly preventable. If you can identify the potential ergonomic causes that may be contributing to the condition, you can likely work with your doctor to create a plan for avoiding or minimizing those factors to keep your joints healthy and happy!

Looking For a Hand Doctor in the Glens Falls NY Region? Turn to Dr. Garcia!

Dr. Garcia is an experienced hand specialist, conveniently located in the heart of downtown Glens Falls. He provides expert care for a wide variety of hand, wrist and elbow conditions and injuries, including those caused in the workplace.

If you live in Saratoga Springs, Lake George, Hudson Falls, Warrensburg, Queensbury or anywhere in the entire Adirondack region, Dr. Garcia is a convenient and reliable choice.

Find out why so many patients trust Dr. Garcia, and what truly sets him apart.

Interested in setting up an appointment with Dr. Garcia? Give us a call today at 518-793-0475 or schedule a consultation with us online. We look forward to helping you get started on the road to recovery.

Want to learn more about hand and wrist conditions? We delve into the details about a variety of common ailments here. You can also find more information about hand, arm and wrist conditions on our blog.