3 Tips for treating Wrist Tendinitis caused by computer work
Updated: Feb 15
The tips in this article is specifically for people who struggle with tendinitis in their wrists due to overuse injuries from computer work.
I've also discussed it in this video:
Tip 1: Got to start with relative rest!
Wrist tendinitis is an overuse injury. It happens because you’ve used a muscle and tendon too much in the same position. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that I’m a massive fan of relative rest which means that you don’t necessarily rest the injury fully. You just cut out the really aggravating activities or you adapt them so that they no longer irritate the tendons.
When we think of computer related overuse injuries, adapting and changing your work space is one of the most important ways that you can off-load or rest a tendon. For instance, if you switch from using a regular mouse to an upright mouse, it totally changes what muscles you use and can be very a useful way to rest the tendons that extend our wrist.
Or if you use a higher chair, your wrists will be in a less extended posture when you type (see video for demo) which also offloads the wrist extensors.
Tip number 3, taking regular breaks, should actually also fall under here, but it is so important that I decided to make it one on it’s own.
Tip 2: Do strength training exercises
When you have irritated tendons around your wrists, it can feel very nice to stretch them, but have you noticed that the pain and discomfort come back quite quickly? Stretching feels good and can play a role in your treatment, but strength training is much more important.
When you do strengthening exercises you get the blood flowing through the muscles and tendons and increases the oxygen supply. This helps with the healing process and you’ll find that if you do it right, it also decreases the pain for much longer than stretching does.
Just be careful – you’ll make things worse if you jump in with very heavy strength exercises during the acute stages of a tendinitis. It has to be introduced at the right level for you. Check out the video for some ideas.
Tip 3: Take regular breaks from your desk
Once you’ve got an overuse injury from spending too many hours working at your desk, it can be very hard to get rid of it unless you change your habits dramatically. It’s great to do your exercises first thing in the morning, but 3 hours into the day that tendon is gagging for some blood and oxygen!
You have to take regular breaks throughout the day AND do some exercises in them. It doesn’t have to take long. Stopping for 5 min to do one band exercise can be all that’s needed. Check out the video for some ideas on exercises that you can do.
Let me know if you have any questions. Need more help with an injury? You’re welcome to consult me online via video call for an assessment of your injury and a tailored treatment plan.
About the Author
Maryke Louw is a chartered physiotherapist with more than 15 years' experience and a Masters Degree in Sports Injury Management. Follow her on LinkedIn, ResearchGate, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.