Do you worry about having carpal tunnel syndrome, especially when you spend many hours on your computer? When you have to work long hours, you need everything to be ergonomic and comfortable to avoid any aches and pains at the end of the day.
While wrists may not be on top of the list of possible injuries due to daily computer use, you should definitely not forget them. Plus, it happens pretty often, mainly due to the wrong sitting posture and the wrong way of using your keyboard (mechanical or otherwise).
How you sit can really determine whether any part of your body will end up in pain. When sitting and standing, you should maintain a neutral position. When it comes to your wrists, they should stay straight while typing. This means that your muscles and tendons in the hands, forearms, and wrists can work in alignment and remain relaxed.
When you are sitting down, you should keep the elbows close to the side of the body, with the arms and forearms bent at 90 degrees. The computer desk is simply too high or too low for many people. Thus, when they correct their posture and change the position of the keyboard, they can feel the immediate advantages.
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What is a Keyboard Wrist Rest?
A keyboard wrist rest is a straightforward tool. It goes under the wrist just in front of the keyboard. This is meant to make it more comfortable and easier to maintain the correct posture. When your hands are in a bent position (which is not recommended), you can notice the results in a short time.
While this does not necessarily mean that you should quickly buy a keyboard wrist, it can still help. If you have to spend a lot of time on the computer, both for work or just to play games, you can end up feeling pain in the shoulders and wrists. Once you feel this way, you should definitely try out a keyboard wrist rest.
However, the primary function of the wrist rest is not for the whole day. It is meant to be used when you are not using the keyboard, like scrolling or reading a webpage. When you are typing, your wrist should be kept flat over the keyboard. If you can keep it flat, you might not need the wrist rest. If you bend the wrist, this is when you can see problems later on.
Should You Invest In One?
Decades ago, people did not spend as much time on computers for work or leisure. But because it has become a massive part of everyone’s daily life, there is a high probability that you are spending most of your day in front of a screen. Thus, you will find having one a good idea.
In the long term, you might enjoy the benefits. You may not be aware that you are misusing the keyboard, leading to discomfort and pain in the future. Getting a keyboard wrist rest will lessen the chance of unwanted injury. Some conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome can gravely affect your life and may no longer be reversed.
Different Types of Wrist Rests
- Memory Foam
This kind of wrist rest is the most comfortable option available. Memory foam bends and flexes around the wrist to provide the best type of support. The only disadvantage is that it takes a bit of time to break-in, and if you are a sweaty kind of person, it will need a regular cleaning or replacing.
- Wooden Wrist Rest
With this kind of wrist rest, you sacrifice comfort for the ease of cleaning it. Because they do not catch dirt as quickly, it also looks better. It might not be comfortable for everyone, but this is purely a preference.
Disadvantages of Wrist Rests
In the past, when people were using typewriters, they learned the proper way of using it, including how their hands should be positioned over them. In the same way, knowing how to set your wrist over the keyboard is crucial to keep it comfortable and injury-free after many hours of computer use.
Many in the workforce will be spending a considerable chunk of their lives working on computers, so you will not want to hurt yourself in a way that makes it painful or impossible to use one for the rest of your life. Remember that carpal tunnel syndrome can affect the use of your hands, not just your typing.
While a wrist rest can help, you should still ensure that your hands are always positioned as flat as possible. Any bending puts pressure on the nerve, which is mainly associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Other Ways To Take Care Of Your Wrists
Do you find wrist rests uncomfortable or unnecessary? Then you can also live without one. Take some alternative steps to take care of your wrists. For example, get used to stretching the hands and wrists during the workday, so that you can keep proper wrist flexion and extension. In fact, make it a habit to take breaks for some simple exercises throughout the day. This will be good for your back, your wrists, your energy levels, and your productivity.
You can also invest in an ergonomic keyboard and mouse instead. They are not that expensive and are proven to be good for your hands and wrists. They are specifically designed so that you can position the body more comfortably and reduce muscle strain.
Are keyboard wrist rests worth it? There is no one answer for everyone. They exist if you genuinely need it, although you can take other steps like working on your posture and repositioning your workspace. But if despite these steps, you experience wrist pain, then you should try getting a wrist rest.
You will never really know if it is more comfortable or not unless you try it out. If it does help, then buying it is worthwhile. The most important thing is that you keep yourself the pain- and discomfort-free as much as possible when working on your computer the whole day. On a side note, you may want to check my latest article: ANSI vs ISO keyboard layout – Which one is best for you?