I am currently in the middle of finding a new keyboard to use. Typing is something I do a lot in my work, and a keyboard is the main interface with which I produce, so finding the best possible tool for it seems like the logical thing to do.
My current main keyboard, the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard, is a good one. It’s a bit on the large side, though, and it’s not something I can travel with comfortably. It’s also starting to slightly fall apart after about two years of daily use. I am also curious about using a mechanical keyboard, and want to see if it helps improve comfort or speed or the feel of typing (or hopefully a combination of those).
I found the keyboard that matches my criteria the most, but this post is not about it.
Before deciding to get that keyboard, one thing that bothered me the most is the lack of wrist rest. The Microsoft Sculpt has a large wrist rest, and I always put my wrists on it whenever I’m typing. So I was worried that the lack of wrist rest will cause ergonomics issue. After reading a little bit more about wrist rests, though, it turns out I’ve been using it wrong the whole time.
Here’s a picture:
It turns out the right way to type is to sort of hover your wrist above the keyboard. A wrist rest is to be used to rest the wrist on when you’re taking a break from typing. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration from the United States Department of Labor says:
Performing keying tasks without a wrist rest may increase the angle to which users’ wrists are bent (Figure 1). Increasing the angle of bend increases the contact stress and irritation on tendons and tendon sheathes. This is especially true with high repetition or prolonged keying tasks. Keying without a wrist rest can also increase contact stress between the users wrist and hard or sharp workstation components.
- Resting the wrist/palm on a support while typing may inhibit motion of the wrist and could increase awkward wrist postures.
So it turns out I have been using an ergonomic keyboard the wrong way. No wonder my palm/wrist area is usually sore after a long session of typing, the pressure they get every time I’m typing must have been the cause.
Right now, while waiting for the new keyboard to arrive, I’m trying to fix my typing posture again. It’s hard to remove an old habit, but it’s probably going to be easier for things that are done regularly like typing.