Repetitive Surf Injury

It is estimated that 8 million people in the UK are accessing the internet on the move. As usage of the worldwide web expands, there is increasing concern that consumers may be risking their posture and putting themselves at risk of RSI (repetitive strain injuries) or surf injury.

The frequency of use and the way in which people are accessing the web via different devices when at home, at work and on the move, means that the pressure on our bodies is significant and the risk of surf injury increases.

Sitting down puts almost twice as much pressure on the spine than standing up, so we are more at risk from posture pains when seated. When on the move, laptops are balanced on our knees so we end up staring down at the screen which in turn puts strain on necks, shoulders and backs. Holding your head and neck in this unsupported position can place increased load on the joints of the neck and reduce blood flow to the surrounding muscles causing inflammation, stiffness and pain.

So many phones nowadays have a built-in internet browser. As technology is developing, gadgets are getting smaller and so the buttons are closer together. Small, fine movements tend to aggravate more than larger movements – this coupled with the smaller buttons can lead to injury as smaller buttons are harder to activate. These movements may cause a lack of blood flow to the tendons and muscles of the thumb and may cause inflammation of the joint at the base of the thumb.



  • If you must use your laptop on the move, don’t sit in the same position for long periods as you are looking down onto the screen with your head unsupported
  • Rest the laptop on a table not on your lap
  • Relax when sitting into your chair, making sure you have your bottom against the seat back and your shoulder blades are touching the back rest of the chair
  • Arms should be flat and your elbows level with the desk or table you are using. Use a seat with arm rests
  • If you carry a laptop use a rucksack design laptop case, carry it on both shoulders and adjust the straps so that the bag is held close to your back

Mobile phones

  • Support your arm on a chair or table to take the ‘load’ off the neck and shoulder muscles
  • Massage your arm from the wrist to the elbow at regular intervals
  • Swap hands regularly and vary the fingers you are using
  • Sit in a neutral upright position – head over shoulders and arms comfortably near the body
  • The best way to avoid injury is to flex your hand muscles as this will keep the blood flowing and will break up the repetition.
  • The weight of a phone may not feel much, but it is significantly increased if the arm is held out stretched, as it will increase the load of muscles and joints