geekhack Community > Ergonomics

Has anyone developed problems from using a mouse/keyboard wrist rest?

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I have always been taught it was a complete no-no to rest your wrists on anything whilst typing/mousing.  And yet, Internet marketplaces are filled with people offering mouse/keyboard wrist rests.

Is it the case that wrist rests are a good idea, and it all comes down to being careful when making use of them?

When I first started using computers, I was using one of these mouse wrist rests for a few years, thinking that it would be more ergonomic. I was very wrong.

Perhaps I wasn't using it properly, perhaps my desk was too high, but in any case I developed discomfort in my right wrist, which progressed into acute pain whenever I stretched my wrist backwards. I got rid of the wrist rest, but the pain wouldn't go away.

Eventually, and even though I'm right-handed, I moved the mouse to the left side (I still have it there) and the pain progressively dissipated. It took many months though, perhaps more than a year.

Getting used to left-hand mousing took a couple of weeks or so (it was very frustrating at first), but after that, I could use it equally well with both hands. Besides, due to the standard keyboard's asymmetry, the left side is closer to the center of the keyboard (even on a 60%) and it's a more ergonomic place for the mouse to be (at least for me).

Nowadays, I do extensible use of keyboard shortcuts (vimium for browsing, layer mappings for text editing, etc.) and only use the mouse when necessary. I hadn't had any pain in my hands ever since.

it all depends on your posture, your desk setup and how you use your keyboard, mouse, etc...
i think a lot of times, things like wrist rests, etc. get blamed when the actual issue is bad human ergonomics (posture, position of keyboard/mouse related to the forearms/shoulders, desk/chair height, etc...). usually it's not one component that's to blame, usually it's your overall setup/posture.

- do some searching on "proper computer ergonomics". this should get you the basics without me regurgitating them here.
- evaluate your setup
- make some changes
- give it some time, you should start to see a difference, and begin to understand why these are the preferred positions/posture.

That thing in the photo is kinda obviously terrible, locking your wrist in place, compressing the soft tissue in the under-arm, and to move the mouse you have to twist your hand from side to side. 

Variety of posture aside, some parts of the body are more natural pivot points than others.  The Kinesis Advantage does it pretty good, you rest on the heel of the hand and don't have to twist it to reach stuff, but also, you can spread the arms' weight over the expansive surface instead of concentrating the weight in one spot.

I think it really depends on posture you sit as well.

At my last job coding 8 hours a day, I would prefer not using a wrist rest on a standing desk. But sitting down lower I liked having a wrist wrest. This might also apply to the height of your chair too.


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