With the average employee on a computer more than half the day, it’s important to consider if you’re putting your hands and arms at unnecessary risk for injury. The main things to consider are what type of keyboard and mouse you’re using, where they’re located in relation to you, how much of your day is spent using them and what type of tasks you’re using them for.
If you do not use the 10-key portion on the right side of your keyboard frequently, you could benefit from using a keyboard without it. This would allow you to keep your input device closer to the keyboard, your arms closer to your body and eliminating unnecessary reaching & loading.
And if you’re unsure about switching to a keyboard without the 10-key portion, think about whether you have any pain or discomfort while navigating and if you’re usage of the 10-key is more or less compared to how much you navigate…
If you navigate heavily, is the device you use working for or against you? Most people plant their wrist and keep their fingers ‘perched’ on the device while navigating; this puts the hand in an awkward position and reduces circulation with a contract stress on the work surface. This can be alleviated by using a mouse with contour and a wrist rest that provides support and allows you to move your arm while mousing.
With so many options on the market for mice and keyboards I’ve compiled information on several that could be beneficial.
If using a traditional keyboard without an integrated palm rest, it’s helpful to have one. Look down as your keying and see if you have a wrinkle in your wrist. If you see one, then your wrist is not likely in a neutral posture/position and a palm/wrist rest can alleviate that.
For a standard keyboard, I would suggest using the Fellowes Keyboard Palm Support. It provides dugouts for the carpels while typing, is low profile and ‘soft’ so it doesn’t overtake the keyboard and it’s fairly inexpensive.
If you do not need the 10-key portion of your keyboard, I would suggest using a keyboard without one. This will allow the user to mouse much closer to the keyboard and prevent over-reaching, eliminating several potential risk factors. There are many options on the market these days, so below are a few options to consider.
The A4-Tech Compact Multimedia X-Slim Keyboard, the key depth is similar to a standard keyboard, though some keys are offset from what you expect on a standard keyboard so a learning curve is required for use. It’s wired and inexpensive.
The SIIG USB Mini Multimedia Keyboard is good for most hand sizes, with responsive keys depth similar to a standard keyboard. It’s wired and also inexpensive.
The Logitech K380 Bluetooth Keyboard is a very slim, short and low profile keyboard that is not meant for large hands and is wireless/bluetooth.
The Posturite Numeric Slide keyboard has a retractable 10-key portion for those who need it on occasion, but not frequently.
For those with larger hands/fingers who don’t want the 10-key portion or only occasional access the Microsoft Sculpt keyboard is a good choice and also has the option to purchase with a contoured mouse.
There are many more options out there, so if you do go the route of getting a keyboard without a 10-key, ensure that they have a good return policy.
For all keyboards without a 10-key portion, I recommend the Grifiti Slim Wrist Pad 12″. It is the appropriate length for a keyboard without a 10-key. Fabric covered is softest, leatherette very firm. If you want a compact palm rest with dug-outs for the carpal tunnel, you can purchase the Fellowes Keyboard Palm Support and cut off the portion designated for the 10-key.
In reviewing mice, there are many options & styles to choose from. The traditional mouse has little to no contour and does not generally promote a neutral hand and wrist posture/position. A contoured mouse can place the hand/wrist in a more neutral position. Below I have listed several mice with varying amount of contour, for various sized hands and if they are available as left and/or right-handed.
The NEWTRAL 2 Mouse can be found wired or wireless, designed for medium to large hands and has different size flanges to support the hand and wrist..
For those who experience discomfort with a traditional mouse, either left or right-handed, the Penguin Ambidextrous Vertical Mouse comes in small, medium, large and with a wired or wireless option
The Logitech Marathon M705 Mouse is for right handed users, designed for small to medium hands and is wireless.
The Logitech MX Master Mouse is for right handed users, designed for medium to large hands and is wireless.
For any of these mice (except the penguin, which does not need an independent wrist rest) the following wrist rests are ideal, as they move with the input device, which deters from the wrist planting and future discomfort and has a dug-out for the carpel tunnel.
For more information on office and industrial ergonomics, products and furniture, you will find additional articles on the JR Ergonomics Blog.
If you would like more information about how to adjust your car seating, schedule an assessment for your car or have other ergonomic questions, please contact Jennifer Rappaport, MOTR/L, CPE at JR Ergonomics via email or phone. 503-380-5550 • firstname.lastname@example.org