Why Does My Hand Hurt After Using a Laptop?

Why Does My Hand Hurt After Using a Laptop?

Posted on 01/26/2023

Laptops can be invaluable for people who want to work on the go. It is easy to stash one in a bag, use it on a commute, or transform any area of your home into a temporary office. However, there is a catch: Prolonged typing on a laptop can harm your health.


Does your hand hurt after using your laptop? It can be easy to ignore the pain and chalk it up to tiredness or overuse. But pain, muscle cramps, and numbness can signal something more severe. A laptop keyboard's flat and narrow surface is not ideal for protracted typing. Over time, it can aggravate the joints and tissues in your wrists and hands due to poor typing posture. 


Why Your Wrists Hurt From Using a Laptop


A combination of factors can cause wrist pain over time if you use a laptop regularly. These include sitting with your arms in an awkward position, poor posture, and applying excessive pressure on your wrists. 


Laptops are fantastic devices designed for portability, not comfortable typing per se. It can feel like typing directly into a desk when using a laptop keyboard. So, it should not surprise you that your hands feel sore after long typing sessions. 


Your Wrist's Ergonomic Alignment Is Important


A significant problem is the laptop keyboard's alignment with the rest of your hands, wrists, forearms, and upper arms. Consider several different wrist and arm alignments. 

Let’s say you are sitting with your laptop on a desk. In this case, your bicep aligns with your chest, and your elbows are at a right angle to reach the laptop keyboard while typing. In this position, your forearms may be higher than the elbows or lower than the elbow point. 


The Right Typing Position 

Sometimes, your forearms are almost 90 degrees perpendicular to your elbow joint, which is the neutral position. The best ergonomic position is when your forearms are straight and relaxed in the neutral position. You will experience wrist discomfort with prolonged typing when your forearms are in any other position.


How to Prevent Hand Pain From Typing on a Laptop


You do not have to avoid the device if your hand hurts after using a laptop. Instead, adjusting how you use it will make typing more comfortable and less likely to cause pain and injury in the future. Some of the things you can do to prevent pain include the following:


  • Avoid planting or pushing your wrists into the laptop's surface to keep it steady on your lap. Doing so will pressure your nerves and joints, leading to damage and pain over time. Instead, move your whole arm while typing and maintain good posture

  • Refrain from using your laptop on your lap

  • Use wrist rests appropriately

  • Use an external mouse and keyboard

  • Take regular breaks from typing



Taking these steps will help keep your wrists healthy and pain-free. That will help you avoid complications that may cost more to treat than to prevent. If your wrists hurt from using a laptop, consult a hand and upper extremity specialist immediately before your condition worsens. 

For more on why your hand hurts after using a laptop, call East Bay Hand & Upper Extremity at our Oakland, California office. Call 510-904-1100 to schedule an appointment today.


Please contact us today to schedule an appointment or get more information about our hand and upper extremity surgical services.