If your job requires you to spend a lot of time typing at your computer, you may experience strain throughout your arms, wrists, and hands. If you have a keyboard that is especially high, causing your wrists to hang unnaturally, you may want to consider adding a keyboard pad to your workstation to decrease this feeling.
If your setup isn’t ergonomic, you’ll be able to tell rather quickly. Typing at an uncomfortable keyboard and operating an uncomfortable mouse causes problems fast. It’s not something that takes a while to develop. If your keyboard is uncomfortable, you can start to develop pain shortly after beginning to use it.
Computer-Induced Health Issues
There are a few different problems that using a computer frequently can cause, including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Computer vision syndrome
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Mental health issues
Carpal tunnel is generally caused by repetitive motion, common in computer use. Carpal tunnel (or media nerve compression) causes numbness, weakness in your hands, and a tingling sensation.
The median nerve runs from through your entire arm, ending in a passage at the end of your hand called the carpal tunnel. The nerve controls the movement and feeling of all your fingers (except your pinky).
The main symptoms of carpal tunnel include:
- Burning, tingling, or itching sensation through your palm and fingers
- Weakness in your hand or trouble holding onto things
- Electric-like feeling that moves throughout your finger
- Tingling or burning sensation that crawls up your arm
Tendonitis is also a common health condition that can develop from typing too much or using a computer too frequently. It develops because of overuse. Some of the symptoms between tendonitis and carpal tunnel are similar, so they often get confused. However, with tendonitis, you can expect to experience symptoms like:
- Pain that worsens when you move your hand, wrist, or arm
- Feeling like your tendon is cracking when you move it
- Swelling, heat, redness
- A lump along your tendon
How to Use a Wrist Rest
Unlike the name suggests, you shouldn’t actually be resting your wrists on it (we know, that’s confusing). Instead, to get the best results from your wrist rest, or better yet, keyboard pad, you should use it as a wrest for your palms while you’re typing, allowing your wrists to float naturally in the air while you type.
You can also invest in a pad for your mouse that can help with reducing pain in the wrists, hands, and arms. A wrist rest for your mouse is a great idea, but an ergonomic mouse that is made to reduce pain and pressure on your tendons/nerves is even better.
Why You Should be Using a Wrist Rest
As previously stated, not using a wrist rest can cause various different issues. Purchasing a wrist rest or keyboard pad can help prevent those health issues from developing. A comfortable wrist rest or keyboard pad will help to ensure that your hands, arms, and even shoulders are comfortable throughout each workday.
When your wrists and palms are continuously resting on your desk’s hard surface, the pressure can cause the cut-off of blood flow to your wrists, causing tissue damage. Using a wrist rest or keyboard pad can prevent that pressure from ever occurring, providing comfort and support to your wrists, palms, and forearms.
Mousepads with raised wrist rests and keyboard pads help reduce and absorb the pressure of impact because of the materials they’re made out of. You don’t have to press your palms too hard into the pad, as the soft and comfortable material will gently distribute the force of your palms and wrists coming into contact with it.
Keyboard pads will also help to prevent friction if that’s something that you’re concerned about. They’re usually made of soft fabrics that are gentle on your skin, providing comfort without any irritation.
What Are Wrist Rests Made Out Of?
All wrist rests and keyboard pads are made differently, so they’ll be made of different materials based on where you make your purchase. However, most often, they’re made out of memory foam or gel with a few pads underneath.
Memory foam allows the rest to contour to your palms and wrists, giving you the support your need while the gel keeps things cool and breathable.
How to Choose the Right Wrist Rest
When choosing your wrist rest, the most important thing to think about is its size. You should always choose a wrist rest or keyboard pad that is the same size as your keyboard. Height also matters, so make sure you don’t get a wrist rest that’s too tall for your current keyboard or one that’s too short.
You’ll want your keyboard pad to rest at the same height as your keyboard, so it’s the most comfortable for resting your palms on while you type. If you find that your keyboard pad isn’t helping to make your keyboard more comfortable, you may need to get a different size wrist rest.
Get a Keyboard Pad for Your Computer Set Up
If you’re worried about the health of your wrists, arms, and shoulders while you’re typing, you may want to consider adding a keyboard pad to your computer setup. Adding a keyboard pad can help prevent carpal tunnel as well as help to reduce symptoms associated with tendonitis.
If you’re looking to take your office space to the next level, consider adding a seat cushion, footrest, armrests, or a lumbar back support pillow to your chair. That way, your spine, hips, and tailbone health are all taken care of as well.
eTools : Computer Workstations | Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor
Tendinitis: Types, symptoms, causes, and treatment | Medical News Today
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Complications, and Prevention | Web MD