Proper wrist support is vital when sitting at an office for long hours. Many offices don’t budget for proper ergonomics, leaving their employees to figure out how to set up an ergonomic and comfortable system on their own. For example, most office chairs are either cheap or expensive and ergonomic. Cheap chairs that claim to be ergonomic often don’t do the job correctly.
However, you can make a cheap chair work in your favor by incorporating comfort items like seat cushions, keyboard wrist rests, footrests, and armrest cushions.
Incorporating Proper Office Ergonomics
There is a specific way that you should sit at your desk in order to maintain proper ergonomics. Not only are the comfort items you use and your chair important, but so is your posture. If you sit incorrectly in the most comfortable chair in the world, you can still cause yourself pain and discomfort, thanks to your bad posture.
Before we can look at different types of wrist support and how wrist support can prevent common health problems, let’s look at the ideal office setup and posture. The best way to evaluate your posture is to set up a camera and take a picture of how you’re sitting from the side. That way, it’s easy to see what adjustments need to be made.
When looking at your upper body, you should always ensure that your monitor is at eye level and that it’s at arm’s distance in order to prevent eye strain. You should also make sure that your wrists are in line with your elbows. Your arms should be bent at a 90-degree angle, and your forearms should remain straight and parallel to the ground.
It may be difficult to obtain this posture in a regular chair without further support. In order to ensure that your elbows and wrists stay in line, you may need support at the wrists and at the elbows. To keep your elbows from dipping too low, use your arm rests when necessary. To make armrests more comfortable, add an armrest cushion.
To ensure that your wrists don’t drop too low, use a wrist rest or a keyboard pad. These are used to support the palms, not the wrists (contrary to their name). However, with the support on your palms, your wrists can float naturally in the air instead of dropping like they might without a keyboard pad.
Your lower body is just as important. With your lower body, you want to have your feet planted flat or at a slight angle. Having them at a sharp angle can cut off blood floor and proper circulation. You should also ensure that your hips and knees are level, with your thighs remaining parallel to the floor.
To accomplish this, you may need to use a footrest in order to make your knees higher. If your hips are too low, a wedge cushion may be helpful.
Maintaining proper posture throughout your entire body is vital to ensuring overall health and comfort. While you may want to focus on one area to improve, you should make sure that your entire posture is correct, or you could endure pain as well as damage to your body.
Wrist and Arm Support
As previously stated, wrist and arm support are incredibly important to your upper body’s posture. Without wrist and arm support (i.e., no armrests or keyboard pads), you can cause damage to the tendons in your hands, wrists, and elbows.
Wrist and arm support are made to make sure that you maintain the proper upper body structure when sitting at your computer desk for a long period of time.
How to Use a Wrist Pad
Wrist rests are confusingly named because you’re not actually supposed to rest your wrists on them. Resting your wrists can actually put you at a higher risk for things like tendonitis and carpal tunnel, which are some of the worst case scenarios. When using a wrist rest at your computer workstation, you should rest the heel or palm of your hand on the cushion and allow your wrists to hang naturally in the air.
Our natural instinct is to rest our palms, so when we use a keyboard without a wrist rest, our palms end up resting on the desk, causing long term injury to the wrist, hands, and arms because of the unnatural and painful angle.
Some people are able to train their arms, so their palms and wrists hang naturally in the air, preventing drooping and pain, but this just isn’t possible for everyone. Some people require extra support as one of their workstation components.
Extra palm supports can also help train your wrists, so the next time you use a keyboard without a wrist rest, you’re more likely to float your palms and wrists in a neutral posture instead of letting them drop to the desk. The right gel or memory foam wrist rest can train your muscles in the correct wrist posture, so you don't have to worry about the bending of the wrists when doing repetitive tasks.
How to Relieve Hand, Wrist, and Arm Pain
If you’re experiencing hand, wrist, or arm pain because of the lack of support in your workstation setup, there are a few ways that you can go about relieving that pain so you can get back to work.
- Use over-the-counter medications
- Use hot and cold pads
Do hand and wrist stretches throughout your workday
- Add a wrist or palm rest or armrest to your setup
Add Wrist Support to Your Setup
The best way to prevent wrist, hand, and arm pain is to properly support your hands and arms when you’re working. The best way to do this is by using your armrests and purchasing a keyboard pad or “wrist” rest for your keyboard.
At Everlasting Comfort, we want to help you have the most comfortable office space setup. That’s why we offer multiple different solutions to the pain that you may be experiencing, such as seat cushions, footrests, armrest pads, and of course, keyboard pads.
Office Ergonomics | Environment, Health and Safety
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Complications, and Prevention | WebMD
10 Stretches to Help Your Wrists and Hands | Healthline