A persistent, searing pain in the side of the arm, just below the elbow or else in the wrist is often a sign of repetitive strain injury or RSI as it is commonly called.
The RSI Awareness web site (firstname.lastname@example.org) claims that in 2006, nearly half a million people suffered from the condition.
The ever increasing use of computers has seen a dramatic rise in the number of sufferers as most people assume that using a keyboard is second nature.
However, typing is both physical work and something we do for long periods every day so it is no wonder that our muscles take such a hammering.
Employers really have a duty of care to staff to enable them to learn to type properly in order to avoid RSI which can be regarded as an industrial injury.
Typing courses are widely available from educational institutions such as Pitman Training in London (Notting Hill or Holborn).
These typing courses seek to make people aware of the risk of RSI and usually begin by explaining the importance of correct posture.
This involves ensuring both feet are kept firmly on the floor or on a footrest at all times, that the seat is positioned at the correct height and the keyboard is appropriately situated for the task in hand.
They go on to explain how the wrists should be bent above the keyboard with the fingers cascading down at a 45 degree angle and the shoulders relaxed.
The fingers themselves are anchored around the “F” and “J” keys and most modern keyboards have a small, raised ridge or dot on these keys so that true touch typists can locate them without looking.
Online typing courses, while good for teaching people to use all their fingers without looking at the keyboard, can be dangerous as it is easy for the student to ignore advice concerning posture and technique.
That’s why, although they offer an online course for typing, Pitman Training prefers students to visit its training centres in order to safeguard against bad habits setting in.
Without the correct approach to typing, it is no wonder that people develop RSI.
If you consider an average two fingered typist working at 30 wpm will actually strike the keys approximately 130 times per minute.
That’s 7800 keystrokes per hour – quite a task for 2 or even 10 fingers!
Should RSI set in, there is a range of available treatments from physiotherapy to cortisone injections but there is no guarantee that the condition will not flare up again in the future.
The best advice seems to be to adopt better ergonomic habits from the outset and there is an arguments for vocational classes in schools to equip students with safer typing skills before they start working.
Even if this didn’t happen until learners were in college or university, it would at least give young people a chance to avoid what is after all a preventable musculo-skeletal disorder.
Ongoing training in the workplace every few years would also give people the knowledge and technique to stay healthy.
Most typists agree that once it starts to hurt, you’ve left it too late!
So take a typing course as early as you can in your professional career.
You can contact Pitman Training:
Notting Hill – 020 7792 5214
High Holborn – 020 7025 4700
Manchester – 0161 923 6814