geekhack Community > Ergonomics

Split and ortholinear did nothing for my RSI

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Stupidface:

--- Quote from: VimLover on Fri, 17 December 2021, 10:19:15 ---I am a software engineer with no prior history of RSI. After taking a job at a FAANG company my work life balance took a dive and I started coding double the amount I had been at my previous job. I ended up developing issues in my wrists and hands, including both aching pains and numbing.

--- End quote ---

Can you please tell us what particular models of mouse and keyboard you were using at the time?  Anyone else who finds himself in a similar environment might find that useful information.


--- Quote from: VimLover on Fri, 17 December 2021, 10:19:15 ---My company has ergo experts who come and evaluate people who develop such injuries.

--- End quote ---

I have to ask: did they not have an ergo expert come and evaluate you when you first started working there?


--- Quote from: VimLover on Fri, 17 December 2021, 10:19:15 ---If there is a difference, I think it must be marginal compared to the effects of having a good professional evaluate your posture and take appropriate breaks.

--- End quote ---

I agree that having someone look at what you do and how you go about doing it is a good idea.  However, my understanding of RSIs is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

It's great that the company you work for took the time and trouble to help you after the fact.  However, I am also impressed by the implication that you were not worth the company's time and attention until after your health was affected.

Speaking for myself, I would be chary of working for a company that takes such a short-term view of things.  Perhaps I am missing something, but a company with deep pockets like a FAANG failing to perform some sort of ergonomic evaluation when an employee starts work for them simply screams "liability" to me, particularly in a country as litigious as the US.







OhKeycaps:
I had a lot of pain in my left wrist until I moved to a split ergo. One thing that is underrated, especially if you're a developer - using something like QMK to make lots of shortcuts for ctrl/alt/**** etc can do wonders for your hands.

I was constantly stretching my hands in all sorts of weird directions to hit all the obscure shortcuts I use. Lots of ctrl/alt/**** + f,e,r, etc. It was really putting a strain on my hand, and having a split ortho would not be enough. It wasn't until I started using QMK and having things like HYPER & MEH near my home row did my hand pain start to go away. Now to do ctrl + shift + alt + e, I just hold S and tap E. Compare that with how you would stretch your hand out on a normal keyboard to hit ctrl/alt/****/e. The problem is I was not good at using modifiers on my right side and threw everything on the left.

I would pay close attention to shortcuts that you use frequently that might be causing you more pain that you realize.

vvp:

--- Quote from: OhKeycaps on Thu, 30 December 2021, 18:38:04 ---I was constantly stretching my hands in all sorts of weird directions to hit all the obscure shortcuts I use. Lots of ctrl/alt/**** + f,e,r, etc. It was really putting a strain on my hand, and having a split ortho would not be enough.

--- End quote ---
It does help enough if the ergo has thumb clusters and all the modifiers are on the thumb clusters. Or at least most of them. E.g. it is enough to swap LeftShift with BackSpace and RightShift with Enter (using the built in remap feature) on Kinessis Advantage to get it to a pretty usable shape. It is not horrible without the swap (since Ctrl and Alt keys are already on the thumb clusters) but the swap helps. Kinesis Advantage is not split though. That sucks. But at least the keywells are quite far apart.

IMO, the most important ergo features for a keyboard are (roughly in the order of importance):
* well accessible thumb clusters with all the modifiers on them
* split design or at least a bigger separation of the lef/right sides
* column staggered instead of row staggered
* (concave) keywells like Kinessis Advantage or Maltron 3D
* some tenting is good, 15 as the minimum

Scarab:
I have been researching building my own mech keyboard for years and finally pulled the string on a few GBs earlier this year and end of last year.

I have since wanted to look into ergo keyboards and also a software engineer at FAANG. This thread has made me want to look even more into it as I just get a slight pain in my right wrist. I find I apply pressure on it when resting my wrists on my macbook.

Anyone have any suggestions on ergo boards or anything else (e.g. like that moonlander board in OPs post) I can look into since this is now a whole new world and I'd like to expedite this to mitigate any issues with my wrist sooner rather than later.

Stupidface:

--- Quote from: Scarab on Mon, 31 January 2022, 17:36:46 ---Anyone have any suggestions on ergo boards or anything else (e.g. like that moonlander board in OPs post)

--- End quote ---

If you work for a FAANG, is there a company-provided ergonomics specialist available that you can consult?  As the OP points out, the answer to your problem may lie in your changing your work habits rather than messing about with various keyboards.

I ask because this part of your post:


--- Quote from: Scarab on Mon, 31 January 2022, 17:36:46 ---I find I apply pressure on it when resting my wrists on my macbook.

--- End quote ---

...alarmed me somewhat.  It has long been my understanding that resting your wrists on anything whilst you are typing is ill-advised.

Any road, I am hoping your company has someone on-site who can take a close look at how you work and can give you good advice (rather than the sort of half-guess someone like me can furnish).

One thing I did want to clarify:


--- Quote from: Scarab on Mon, 31 January 2022, 17:36:46 ---on my macbook.

--- End quote ---

Do you use any of the keyboards you mentioned you had purchased with your MacBook?  I ask because I am convinced that the corollary to laptops becoming thinner and lighter is that laptop manufacturers no longer bother incorporating keyboards meant for any sort of serious, long-term typing into their products.

I spend a fair amount of time on a laptop myself, but I would not dream of using the built-in keyboard for anything more than keying in a few search terms now and again.  The point being: I would think using any one of your newly-acquired keyboards would be better than continuing to use your MacBook's built-in keyboard for extended periods.

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