Tip of the Day

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Using a computer when you have arthritis can be difficult at times. Here are some tips to help make using a computer and typing more comfortable:

• Exterminate your mouse. Use a trackball instead to reduce the amount of repetitive clicking motions your fingers will need to do. With the right equipment, you can even connect your computer to a footpad that operates like a mouse so your toes do the clicking.

• Soak your hands in warm water before sitting down to type — this can soothe and loosen joints.

• If stiff fingers make typing too difficult, use the eraser ends of two unsharpened pencils to tap the keys.

• Some software applications let you make “macros” to store frequently typed words, like your address or company name. Once you’ve created a macro, a simple keystroke or two adds the words automatically, saving you some typing and reducing stress on your fingers.

• Find the right keyboard. Flat, rectangular keyboards were once the norm, but now you can find small keyboards that reduce the area your fingers have to cover. There are also split keyboards that ease the strain on wrists.

(Source: Blue Cross Consumer Health Interactive: http://blueprint.bluecrossmn.com)

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