Heavy wrists and fingers

Edited: March 18, 2021, 11:57 PM · Hello, everyone.

So, I just started my first full-time post college job, and I have to continuously and actively type for hours on end. This is a new change for me

I have noticed that during my practice, my hands are quite heavy. For instance, stretching between 2nd and 3rd finger has gotten a little more difficult. I have noticed that I cannot play my three octave scales as fast as I could before. It also feels a little heavier (my fingers I mean). Intonation has been off. Practice has always been consistent as well, so I can't really attribute it to a lack of practice. I should mention I practice before work, before I have any sort of real typing to do.

I've googled all sorts of things, from stretching exercises to soaking in hot water, to squeezing stress balls. Not really too sure how to go about this, and would really appreciate someone's insight so I don't injure myself or something. Anything to reduce general tightness would be greatly appreciated

The affected areas are always between 2nd and 3rd, and the ball of my thumb, not so much the wrist itself

Thank you so much as always,

Vish

Replies (12)

Edited: March 19, 2021, 12:20 AM · If the company you work for has an ergonomics expert, have them come and set up your workspace for your. It starts with chair height, proceeds to monitor height and distance and other measurements and ends with keyboard tray height and angle. Also, change your mouse from left to right and back again every few weeks. I had a database editing job for 18 years, 40 hours a week of typing and mousing and never had a hand or wrist problem because we had an ergonomics person who set it up for me. What you describe sounds like the injury from gripping the mouse too hard or moving it off the pad too frequently.
March 19, 2021, 6:29 AM · Please...No stretching or squeezing exercises. I tried that many years ago and made things worse. Rule that out right now !
March 19, 2021, 6:33 AM · if you have a copy of the violin lesson by Simon Fischer, you can find some very simple exercises for massaging the wrists which frees up the hands.
cheers
buri
March 19, 2021, 1:26 PM · You should definitely see a doctor about this lest you cause serious damage.

I'm *not* an MD but it sounds like you are having nerve problems.

March 19, 2021, 4:14 PM · 24 years ago, when I was using a desktop computer with a separated keyboard and mouse I developed a serious problem with my right hand/arm/shoulder after my original mouse failed and I replaced it with an off-brand one. After I paid the price and finally replaced the original mouse with a new one of the same brand I gradually healed --- somewhat. I still can't throw a ball (or anything) worth a damn!

I know it was 24 years ago because my grandson was only 4 years old and I noticed that because of that injury I could not throw as well as he did - he will celebrate his 28th birthday next month.

March 19, 2021, 4:28 PM · Depending on which muscles are involved in your 2-3 stretch, this might just be your flexors developing more strength than your extensors. In that regard I have found my typing gets better when I do grip training exercises, as long as I balance the flexor work with some extensor work.

If the loss of stretch involves some kind of stiffening in the hand, I speculate that this could occur if your typing technique involves a lot of unnecessary stretching or is generally so tense that your hand is tightening up in reaction to it. Have you been through a conventional typing course or have you just learned to type on your own and are now typing at over 60 wpm?

March 20, 2021, 1:57 AM · One thing that may help is a so-called vertical mouse. I write software for a living so spend a lot of hours each day moving a mouse around and a few months ago (don't know why then after a 30-year career) my wrist started to hurt. So I did some research and bought a vertical mouse. The pain has now gone.
March 21, 2021, 7:02 PM · Andres, we had typing class back in middle school; I've been typing over 60 wpm for some years now (I'm about to be 24). I think I will invest in one of those ergonomic keyboards and make sure my chair, workspace, etc. is in good condition. What grip training do you suggest?

Ann, I did not know that was a thing at all. That would be phenomenal. Hopefully COVID doesn't make that an issue. Paul, is there any reason you'd think it's nerve problems? These didn't start until after I began my job. I feel I'm too young to get these, but I'll definitely get these checked out if it worsens.

I've been doing some yoga and meditation. I feel some of this tension is self-created also, and I think I will purchase ergonomic equipment as well. Thank you very much, everyone.

March 21, 2021, 8:34 PM · Vish I can't say what training you should do. My point was that overdevelopment of flexors compared to extensors might explain your situation. That said, what I do is use grip trainers in 3 sets (I use Captains of Crush but I suspect anything would be fine), and then very informally balance that with 3 sets of extensor work with a rubber band intended for files wrapped around my fingers. Go very easy with this stuff, especially the extensor work.
March 21, 2021, 10:07 PM · Repetitive stress is a risk factor for carpel tunnel syndrome. It is a neuropathy affects the median nerve - and function of the thumb, index and part of middle finger. I suggest researching this syndrome, and consulting a hand surgeon if it seems like your issue.
March 22, 2021, 7:49 AM · (My first post on this site, though I've been reading for years!)
You may also want to try a trackball pad instead of a mouse, as that would keep your fingers in motion.

As much as possible, avoid "training devices" until you have consulted a medical professional. I agree with Andres, though, about the imbalance of muscles. If you can, take a break every 20 minutes and relax, do some "opposite of typing" movement for a few minutes.

-MR

March 22, 2021, 7:06 PM · I've always had a "heavy" feel from my fingers, too. I do have to work against that. Perhaps it's that your hands are getting more used to a heavier strike from typing and that is carrying over to your playing? If so, maybe just be aware of it may help. Also, I'm sure your typing muscles are getting a workout like they've never had..give yourself some time to get used to that, too!

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