geekhack Community => Ergonomics => Topic started by: locklock on Tue, 06 April 2021, 23:56:57

Title: Recommendations for wrist/ forearm pain with ergodox
Post by: locklock on Tue, 06 April 2021, 23:56:57

This is my first post so please let me know if I haven't added enough information. I have recently been having some wrist and elbow pain, so I switched to an Ergodox to see if that helps. My left hand is doing fine but after a couple of hours testing out the keyboard my right arm is very fatigued, from the wrist all the way through the forearm. What are different things I can look for to assist in my posture/ the board tilt?

Here is a video - the right arm is the one with the bracelet:
Thank you!
Title: Re: Recommendations for wrist/ forearm pain with ergodox
Post by: qeebored on Wed, 07 April 2021, 05:46:06
I'm no medical or ergonomic posture expert, and I'm also new here, so don't take this as any truth or medical advice, it's only meant as food for thought.

I noticed that it seems your left hand is more relaxed than your right hand. The upper left arm (without the bracelet) have a slight angle out from the body, while your right arm is held tighter to the body. It also seems like your fingers on your right hand are a bit more extended at the knuckles (angled upward) than the fingers on the left hand, which seems to be in more neutral position. It might just be the light and camera angle, but it seems your tendons on the right hand moves more than on the left hand, indicating that you extend the fingers more upward from on that hand, thereby using the muscles on the outer part of the forearm more. It might help to turn the right keyboard slightly outward, and/or move it a bit, to help the right hand find a more natural position so you get less extension of the joints.

As the muscles and tendons in the forearm are involved in the movement of many joints, from the elbow to the fingers, it can be hard to find the exact movement or static position that causes the fatigue. As you described that it was from the wrist to the elbow, it also makes me think it can be the muscles for extending the fingers, as these are located from the elbow and almost down to the wrist on the outer part of the forearm. 

It might also help to take breaks in the typing, moving and stretching the back, shoulders, arms, wrists and fingers regularly during long typing sessions.
Title: Re: Recommendations for wrist/ forearm pain with ergodox
Post by: econeuler on Wed, 07 April 2021, 11:17:06
I've used 40% ergo keyboards for quite some time, but also disclaimer I'm not a professional expert.
I have a couple of points from my own experience:

- Smaller keyboards are great for ergo, I use a Corne atm, but:
1. The layout matters: many peolpe say that the shift to Colemak or Dvorak matters more than the keyboard itself. I use Colemak DH and I find it a lot more comfortable, but if can take a couple of weeks to get used to.
2. The keymap matters, how you reach for your modifiers etc, look into this keymap for ideas: it work for all keyboards, and you don't have to use all keys!
3. When you switch to a new keyboard it takes some time to get used to it, and the strain can be from that.

- The switches matter. In the beginning I jump on the train with everyone enjoying tactile switches, they sound and feel nice. But I get tired and fatigued if I use them for a long period of time. I write this on gateron clears, very light ~45g linear switches, which to me feel great. It took a week to get used to them, but now I cannot imagine typing on heavier switches.

- Wrist rests are not necessarily good.

- Tilting and such is not necessarily good either. This is individual. I like a flat keyboard, and I even think that for me low profile boards could be the best, then the keyboard is slick to the desk and you don't have any awkward tilting in your wrists.

- Take breaks.

- It takes time to converge to your optimal setup.

- General exercise is good. I can feel that I get more back strain etc when sitting at the computer if I don't exercise.

This was just some general advice, but maybe try colemak and a flatter profile?
And I should add that if the pain does not get better or even worse, it's probably a good idea to contact a specialist, some ppl get real long term issues from this.

Good luck!