While we all know there is no simple solution that will fix everything with your hand ergonomics at work, I’d like to share one of the simplest things you can do that might not have even occurred to you.  It isn’t going to help everyone, but it seems to be relevant to a lot of people, so if you’re curious, just take a couple minutes to consider this.
Have you ever noticed your hands get cold easily?
It’s commonly known that your extremities lose heat faster than the rest of your body.  We also know that we lose dexterity in our hands when they get cold; this is particularly noticeable when outside in winter weather.  Scientific studies confirm that hand dexterity deteriorates in cold working environments[1].
cold hands warm up with coffee mug
If your hands get cold easily, you probably already warm your hands holding your coffee mug from time to time.  If this is you, definitely continue reading!
At the Computer
A 2015 study looked specifically at hand temperature changes with prolonged work with a computer mouse and found that within a three hour period, finger temperature dropped to as low as room temperature[2].  The study continues to reason that prolonged low temperature and probably impaired blood supply to peripheral tissues in hands may be important contributing factors for the development of tissue damage, e.g., small nerve fibers.  A normal body temperature is needed for optimal action of the biochemical reactions in a cell[3][4]. Although more research is required, this study states, “Taking into account the quite high prevalence of work-related carpal tunnel syndrome and musculoskeletal disorders of the hand in computer users, our findings might be clinically important for further research on the methods for prevention of work-related disorders[2].”

The book Repetitive Strain Injury: A Computer User's Guide points to cold hands as a potential warning sign of RSI and advises hand warm-ups including wearing fingerless gloves in multiple sections of the book[5].
desk setup work at the computer
Multiple personal accounts indicate that improved hand warmth from Refiber Designs hand warmers has helped their hand pain and discomfort.[6]
hand warmer computer gloves typing at laptop desk setup
hand warmers fingerless gloves typing at the computer

Hand warmers from Refiber Designs

With continuing increase in computer usage for recreation, education and work [7], ergonomics at the computer is more important and significant than ever.
An Easy Adjustment
While other actions to help ergonomics require time to get used to, like learning how to type on a new ergonomic keyboard, adding hand warmers to your ergonomic setup is an easy adjustment.  And it's definitely a great idea if your hands get cold easily.  These typing gloves feel surprising lightweight, with no excess bulk.  Your fingers are completely free while the hand warmers insulate your wrists and palms.  My customers often tell me that these fingerless gloves are so comfy that they’ll forget they are wearing them!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic and/or your personal accounts with hand warmers and whether they've help you.  Please send me a message here.
Resources:
[3] Daniel R.M., Danson M.J. A new understanding of how temperature affects the catalytic activity of enzymes. Trend. Biochem. Sci. 2010;35:584–591. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2010.05.001. [Google Scholar]
[4]Daniel R.M., Peterson M.E., Danson M.J., Price N.C., Kelly S.M., Monk C.R., Weinberg C.S., Oudshoorn M.L., Lee C.K. The molecular basis of the effect of temperature on enzyme activity. Biochem. J. 2009;425:353–360. doi: 10.1042/BJ20091254. [Google Scholar]
[5]Emil Pascarelli, M.D., Deborah Quilter, Repetitive Strain Injury: A Computer User's Guide, Wiley, 1994, p21, p129, p184 (access the book for free here)
[7] 2016 data reports that 89.3% of households have a computer and more than 96% of households with a member between the ages of 15 and 44 have a computer.  Census data shows a steady increase in computer ownership and internet subscription.  https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2018/acs/ACS-39.pdf



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