What would happen if you suddenly could not type? What would happen to your family if you could no longer make money as software developer or do anything that requires fine hand control? We don’t think about it, but this is real possibility if you are working with computers all day long. Consider this and think what if…

If you think it can’t happen to you I challenge you to do simple test. Install WorkRave and track how much you type each day. Look at the statistics and calculate how many keys you press each minute, every single day. Then think about whether there is anything that is designed to work at such rate without problems…

I’ll give you an example. Lots of days I average about 20,000 key strokes per day. For an 8 hour day that means that I press on average 41 keys every single minute for 8 hours straight. Even if you type 10,000 key strokes a day you average 20 key presses every single minute for 8 hours uninterrupted! Is there anything that can sustain that work rate for 40-50 years without problems?

There isn’t, and unless you take care of your hand health you will be faced with pain at least, and that is guaranteed.

This is first article in series with goal to transfer to you everything I have learned on this topic. I will cover everything from hand exercises, choosing keyboards and mouse, work chairs and tables and everything in between. I want you to take your hand health seriously because your hands are feeding you.

Note that I am not medical professional, just developer like you. This is not medical advice. For that consult your doctor. Idea is to get you thinking and share what I know and what works for me. Ideas is to get you motivated to start caring for your hands before you encounter problems, because after you are in pain, it might take years to recover. Please feel free to add your comment to each article in series with your experiences and you’ve found works for you.

When I started developing software there were no best practices regarding ergonomics established. Even today most developers or heavy computer users don’t pay attention to it until something happens.

That something is some manifestation of repetitive strain injury, RSI, and our industry is ripe with it. It is something lots of people don’t talk about publicly, perhaps from fear of admitting it and losing their job or perhaps they take it as normal. Whatever the reason, there is lot of pain going around. If you browse any computer related forums you will encounter plenty of people looking for help and suffering from hand and back pain all caused by computer work.

Pain can be in fingers, forearms, shoulders, neck or back. Lot of it is caused by choice of crappy keyboards and mice, bad chairs, improper posture and bad work habits.

So here are the links to the individual posts in series that I am going to write (I will add links as I finish those articles):

I hope you find these posts useful and that they get you thinking and reassessing how you work. Feel free to comment and add your opinions.

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