Hand Therapy & Occupational Fitness Center of Santa Barbara

Ergonomics: Not Just for Adults


Parents help ease the transition from summer fun to school routine.  Just as important (but perhaps not quite as much fun) as shopping for the right back-to-school fashion, parents can encourage positive health and ergonomic practices that reduce their children’s risk for developing repetitive strain injuries.

Several years ago, a youngster was referred to our hand therapy clinic with classic and debilitating symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).  However, the physician, a generalist, was adamant that this young person did not have CTS as “16 year-olds do not develop these types of injuries”.  This patient’s parents sought a second opinion.  The patient was officially diagnosed with CTS upon physical examination with an orthopedic hand surgeon and nerve conduction examination, subsequently underwent surgical decompression of the nerve, and had a very successful recovery.

It is true that we don’t see many pre-teens and teenagers with symptoms of repetitive stress injury.   The flexibility and rapid healing rate of children allow them to get away with much more than adults when it comes to the repetitive and forceful nature and awkward postures of physical activity that create symptoms.

Unfortunately, the increasing role of technology in our lives, across all age groups, can not be ignored.  And formal classes in typing technique, posture and ergonomics are no longer offered in school as children begin using technology in their toddler years rather than learning to type in high school.  It is important for adults to be aware of the risk factors and to teach good ergonomic principles and work practices to our children in order to help keep the next generation pain-free.

Kids, Computers & Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs)

General Guidelines to Promote Healthy Computing

Computer Comfort & Ergonomics for Children