Author Topic: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips  (Read 1203 times)

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Offline letsfixitinpost

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TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 10:39:46 »
I've been searching the forums for some posts on this, but I have a more in depth question.  I have RA, my hands aren't damaged but they are always in some short pain.  I work as a video editor all day, then I game sometimes too, so it can be tough.  I've been trying to replace my k70 for a few months. I just cant decide on what to do.  For a long time I got fixated on the idea of silver switches, but then I tried Topre and it felt like a new world.  I tried the 55g which is a bit heavy, but I've read that dropping down to the 35 has been a sweet spot for a lot of people.  My question is where can I find a 35g Topre board?  I really like the realforce 87u, it seems perfect, but only seems to exist in a variable or 55g.  Im also looking at the happy hacking which is slightly too small, but has a usb pass through.  Any suggestions?  I hate to say this, but money isn't an option.  i work every day on my keyboard so whatever it takes to improve the situation at home, and on this chiclet apple nightmare at work. 

I hope I'm doing this right.  I have social anxiety issues because of all my arthritis problems so when I post online I get worried Im going to get flamed.

Offline Tactile

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 10:44:23 »
In 35 gram it's much easier to find clones than genuine Topre. Something like this.

Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 10:58:21 »
Welcome to GH :)

No flames here but we are mostly young and I for one am not familiar with RA - can you explain what causes the pain and what you don't like about the chiclet board?  Also what switches are in your K70 so we have a rerference?

To me Topre still has the jarring bottom out (after the key has registered you can't help but keep pressing until you hit the case below, can only be 'worse' with 35g) and it requires more movement than a chiclet board, neither of which sound like good things for damaged hands.  Of course if you like it and it doesn't hurt it may be the switch for you...
                               
Ducky Zero, MX Reds    JD40, Jailhouse Blues           GH60
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Offline letsfixitinpost

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 11:02:33 »
I'm actually only in my 30s, but basically for me it's a swelling issue.  So I get swelling in my extremities like fingertips, hands, and feet.  I also HAD wrist problems which a vertical mouse, and better posture have eased.  Not to mention modern medicine. 

So the Keyboard at home is an MX-Red.  I got it a long time ago on a price error at best buy, and didn't even know different switches existed.  I honestly though Cherry MX Red was the brand and they just made that. 

For my issue with that board is sometimes it feels like im traveling a bit too far.  I think the bottoming out hitting hard is what bothers me the most to be honest.  Maybe if it was more spongey or something I don't know.  I honestly never hated old dome keyboards, and sometimes I go back to them.  I'm a very fast typer but I never got used to the actuation of the red.  My instincts are always to clank and not just push part way until it registers.

I hope that makes sense. Thanks for replying.
« Last Edit: Thu, 18 January 2018, 11:13:38 by letsfixitinpost »


Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 11:37:20 »
Sorry to hear that, gaming and arthritis is an unusual combo but could have been either way.

The problem with reds (light, linear) switches is you don't know when the key has registered so you can't easily know when to stop especially when typing quickly - the silver switch will be much the same but will bottom out sooner.  With Topre you know when it's pressed, but only because the dome inside collapses and the resistance disappears (just like a regular dome keyboard)  If there is any resistance with 35g...

My first thought was a modified MX blue switch with the click disabled leaving a high actuation point with a bump so you know when the key has registered.  After it registers there is a lot of room to stop pressing before it bottoms out, so it's easier not to.  You can also get springs which get stiffer the further you press them.  The problem with this is you can't buy a board with this switch and the mod is long and tedious.

I've been away for a while so there may be other options, hopefully someone else will comment now we know what you're after :)
                               
Ducky Zero, MX Reds    JD40, Jailhouse Blues           GH60
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Offline letsfixitinpost

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 11:50:33 »



Sorry to hear that, gaming and arthritis is an unusual combo but could have been either way.

The problem with reds (light, linear) switches is you don't know when the key has registered so you can't easily know when to stop especially when typing quickly - the silver switch will be much the same but will bottom out sooner.  With Topre you know when it's pressed, but only because the dome inside collapses and the resistance disappears (just like a regular dome keyboard)  If there is any resistance with 35g...

My first thought was a modified MX blue switch with the click disabled leaving a high actuation point with a bump so you know when the key has registered.  After it registers there is a lot of room to stop pressing before it bottoms out, so it's easier not to.  You can also get springs which get stiffer the further you press them.  The problem with this is you can't buy a board with this switch and the mod is long and tedious.

I've been away for a while so there may be other options, hopefully someone else will comment now we know what you're after :)

I will do my research.  How are the straight up blues?  I've been reading they are very tactile and audible.  I think I've been avoiding the clicky side of things but maybe thats actually worth looking into.  The issue with RA is its auto immune so i deal with a range of issues involving my immune system attack the joints.  So in general nothing I do really makes a difference.  Exercise, medication, and clean diet seem to help the most.  I have it a lot better than other people.

Offline Tactile

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 11:59:49 »
I'm actually only in my 30s, but basically for me it's a swelling issue.  So I get swelling in my extremities like fingertips, hands, and feet.  I also HAD wrist problems which a vertical mouse, and better posture have eased.  Not to mention modern medicine. 

So the Keyboard at home is an MX-Red.  I got it a long time ago on a price error at best buy, and didn't even know different switches existed.  I honestly though Cherry MX Red was the brand and they just made that. 

For my issue with that board is sometimes it feels like im traveling a bit too far.  I think the bottoming out hitting hard is what bothers me the most to be honest.  Maybe if it was more spongey or something I don't know.  I honestly never hated old dome keyboards, and sometimes I go back to them.  I'm a very fast typer but I never got used to the actuation of the red.  My instincts are always to clank and not just push part way until it registers.

I hope that makes sense. Thanks for replying.

Travel too long? Harsh bottom out? It sounds like you may be a good candidate for O-rings. It's a mod which is cheap, easy, non-destructive, and easily undone if you don't like it.

Offline equalunique

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 13:22:58 »
Consider the Atreus.

You can access every key on a normal keyboard without moving the position of your hands. Like the Planck, you basically have two layers which contain everything you need. Unlike the Planck, these layers aren't Raise and Lower, but simply the Numbers/Punctuation layer & the Function layer. One advantage over the Planck & traditional keyboards is the layout is column staggered to fit your hands. What might be especially appealing to someone concerned about arthritis is that each half of the keyboard is angled to better fit the natural angle of your wrists.

My current Atreus uses lubed Gateron Silent Black switches. Even without the lube, the dampening in silent switches makes them a lot easier on the fingers when bottoming out. I too especially dislike bottoming out, so usually I'm looking for either medium-heavy weight dampened switch springs or just heavy weight springs that I will be unlikley to bottom out on, like Gateron/Cherry MX Green or Cherry MX Clear switches. The recent Halo/Hako Clear & True switches also seem to help a lot in avoiding bottom out.

At least with the Atreus, standard ANSI OEM layout keys tend not to be the best choice, so I have instead tried DSA/G20/SA keys from Signature Plastics / Pimp My Keyboard. For the DSA & G20 keys, the best O-rings for these are going to be 3mm thick ones. SA keys require multiple O-rings because of how high they are, but I don't feel the need for them, because the dampening on "silent" switches is good enough already.

Atreus link: https://atreus.technomancy.us/

My Atreus, daily driver for 1 year: https://imgur.com/gallery/H0nws
« Last Edit: Thu, 18 January 2018, 13:30:21 by equalunique »

Offline Polymer

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 13:41:43 »
Try variable...the strain on your weaker fingers will be a lot less...35g across the board is like having a very light linear keyboard and probably isn't what you're looking for...55g is definitely NOT going to help...

Other possible options...MX Silent...with a solid set of keycaps you'll get really good stability..they're relatively light on the fingers but bottoming out is not very harsh...they aren't as light at 35g Topre which is probably a good thing..

Offline letsfixitinpost

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 14:07:48 »
Wow appreciate all the feedback.  I am leaning towards the topre variable, or something with o rings to soften.  Going to do quite a bit of thinking!  Yall are the best

Offline letsfixitinpost

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 14:18:52 »
Consider the Atreus.

You can access every key on a normal keyboard without moving the position of your hands. Like the Planck, you basically have two layers which contain everything you need. Unlike the Planck, these layers aren't Raise and Lower, but simply the Numbers/Punctuation layer & the Function layer. One advantage over the Planck & traditional keyboards is the layout is column staggered to fit your hands. What might be especially appealing to someone concerned about arthritis is that each half of the keyboard is angled to better fit the natural angle of your wrists.

My current Atreus uses lubed Gateron Silent Black switches. Even without the lube, the dampening in silent switches makes them a lot easier on the fingers when bottoming out. I too especially dislike bottoming out, so usually I'm looking for either medium-heavy weight dampened switch springs or just heavy weight springs that I will be unlikley to bottom out on, like Gateron/Cherry MX Green or Cherry MX Clear switches. The recent Halo/Hako Clear & True switches also seem to help a lot in avoiding bottom out.

At least with the Atreus, standard ANSI OEM layout keys tend not to be the best choice, so I have instead tried DSA/G20/SA keys from Signature Plastics / Pimp My Keyboard. For the DSA & G20 keys, the best O-rings for these are going to be 3mm thick ones. SA keys require multiple O-rings because of how high they are, but I don't feel the need for them, because the dampening on "silent" switches is good enough already.

Atreus link: https://atreus.technomancy.us/

My Atreus, daily driver for 1 year: https://imgur.com/gallery/H0nws

Ok I think no matter what I end up doing Im going to go down the rabbit hole on this lol.  Appreciate it

Offline MajorKoos

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 14:22:52 »
I've also got arthritis in a few fingers, and there are 3 places I run into issues:
1) bottoming out - the impact when the key hits the plate or switch
2) the initial impact when striking a key with my fingertip - basically overcoming the spring and getting the key to start moving.
3) the tactile bump - if it's too harsh or the spring is too stiff it wears me down after a bit.

I mainly use o-rings to soften the impact of bottoming out - the softer the better IMO.
A softer spring and lubrication help with 2 and 3.
Those QMX silencing pads help with #1, but by preloading the spring a bit make #2 more noticible.

I've also been experimenting with cherry silent reds - nice switch with a bit of lube on the spring and slider.

Offline MajorKoos

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 14:27:36 »

p.s. good move on the vertical mouse.
It helped a ton with my RSI's.
I use mine in conjunction with these and alternate depending on the task:
https://www.contourdesign.com/product/armsupport-red/
https://www.contourdesign.com/product/rollermouse-red/


Offline letsfixitinpost

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 14:32:33 »

p.s. good move on the vertical mouse.
It helped a ton with my RSI's.
I use mine in conjunction with these and alternate depending on the task:
https://www.contourdesign.com/product/armsupport-red/
https://www.contourdesign.com/product/rollermouse-red/

That first looks awesome I think I try and do that already with my chair.  I try and line the arms up so it's an even 90 degree angle.

With the RSI I went to phyiscal therapy for a while because of issues.  Loosening up the sciatic nerve helps a lot.  Theres a lot of real simple exercises I do during the day.  It's amazing what a difference it makes taking the pressure off.

Offline MajorKoos

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 15:16:12 »
I think I try and do that already with my chair.  I try and line the arms up so it's an even 90 degree angle.

Exactly!
I also rarely use anything larger than a 75% layout now days to bring the mouse in line with my arm.
Most of the time I use a 60% (with a split right shift and arrows mapped to the bottom right cluster).

Offline letsfixitinpost

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 17:02:57 »
Yea I've even been debating trucking down to 60%.  I like to think I use the arrow keys a lot but I realized I really don't even with editing.  I use all the number keys for shortcuts and shuttling. 

Offline MajorKoos

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 17:48:56 »

This is my usual layout.
The layer toggle key toggles between the arrows and standard ANSI.

186793-0

Offline letsfixitinpost

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 17:58:48 »

This is my usual layout.
The layer toggle key toggles between the arrows and standard ANSI.

(Attachment Link)

Interesting, yea I'm sitting here at work on a mac keyboard trying to think if I actually ever really use the fuction keys and arrow keys.  Not very often.  If anything edit shortcuts can live in the 5-0 space with 2 layers.  What kind of switches would you reccomend?  Right now its feeling like a soft topre would be nice or some kind of mechanical with O rings.

Offline mike-y

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 19:19:35 »

What I've noticed, is that I tend to bottom-out more harshly when using switches with light springs (like reds and browns).  it's a much harder impact than if I'm using a board with a stiffer spring, like 62 grams, which is light at the beginning of the stroke, but gets stiffer as you approach the bottom-out point.  This helps lessen the impact when bottoming out.

When I use my 65 gram zealios switches, I notice, I hardly bottom-out the keys at all. but when I use my board with gateron browns (45g), I smack down pretty hard, and typing is noticeably louder too. I've tried stiffer than 65g, but for me, anything above that starts becoming too stiff and fatiguing for my fingers after while.

Also O-rings will cushion the impact of bottoming out, and also reduce key travel a bit.  They are cheap and easy to try.  Amazon has tons of them:
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=mx+o+rings


On another note, I just built a board with "jailhouse" blues.  I used the little rubber J-spacers and modified a set of outemu blue switches.  The jailhouse mod is very interesting.  The little rubber spacer decreases key travel, but also cushions the bottom-out force.  Because the click jacket is moved downward on the stem, there is no free travel at the top of the stroke.  it almost feels like a topre switch to me.  I ended up swapping some lighter springs in them, because with the jailhouse mod, the spacers pre-load the spring a bit, making it stiffer at the top of the stroke than the switches were before the mod.

Offline MajorKoos

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #20 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 19:31:29 »
If you like Topre how about a FC660C?  Uniform 45g and a compact layout.
https://mechanicalkeyboards.com/shop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=1323
I've got a lubed & silenced Novatouch which uses the same switch.  In theory the silencing mod pre-comrpesses the domes a bit and makes the keys a bit lighter in exchange for a small loss in tactility.


Your instincts on the 55g Topre were correct btw.  From the elitekeyboards site:
"55gram weighted switches are very stiff and snappy. We do not recommend this keyboard to people with arthritis, RSI, or any state of health or physical inability that would prevent them from using, or building the strength to use, these heavy switches!"
http://www.elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=topre_keyboards,rftenkeyless&pid=rf_se18t0

Offline MajorKoos

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #21 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 19:37:13 »

What I've noticed, is that I tend to bottom-out more harshly when using switches with light springs (like reds and browns).  it's a much harder impact than if I'm using a board with a stiffer spring, like 62 grams, which is light at the beginning of the stroke, but gets stiffer as you approach the bottom-out point.  This helps lessen the impact when bottoming out.

When I use my 65 gram zealios switches, I notice, I hardly bottom-out the keys at all. but when I use my board with gateron browns (45g), I smack down pretty hard, and typing is noticeably louder too. I've tried stiffer than 65g, but for me, anything above that starts becoming too stiff and fatiguing for my fingers after while.

Also O-rings will cushion the impact of bottoming out, and also reduce key travel a bit.  They are cheap and easy to try.  Amazon has tons of them:
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=mx+o+rings


On another note, I just built a board with "jailhouse" blues.  I used the little rubber J-spacers and modified a set of outemu blue switches.  The jailhouse mod is very interesting.  The little rubber spacer decreases key travel, but also cushions the bottom-out force.  Because the click jacket is moved downward on the stem, there is no free travel at the top of the stroke.  it almost feels like a topre switch to me.  I ended up swapping some lighter springs in them, because with the jailhouse mod, the spacers pre-load the spring a bit, making it stiffer at the top of the stroke than the switches were before the mod.

This pretty much mirrors my experience as far as MX switches go.
62g Zelios + 1.5mm 50A O-rings + cherry profile keycaps are my sweet spot.

Offline atarione

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #22 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 20:36:29 »
I have a number of things going on... RA, nerve damage (injuries on both hands) and RSI wrists

for me.. I don't like anything bigger or smaller than TKL.. TKL is big enough my fairly big meat hooks can type ~accurately~ish (i've never been a great typist certainly) but the TKL is small enough as to not needlessly strain my wrist when using mouse.

I have been using a Filco MT2 TKL MX-reds w/ dampers for some time this is a nice setup for my needs.

for me anything smaller than TKL is a disaster as my hands are too big to really use a 60% effectively.

Online rich1051414

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #23 on: Thu, 18 January 2018, 23:32:28 »
I also have arthritis, and because of that, I cannot use 60% keyboards. It is too much to put common keys under a F layer. It gets awkward and cumbersome, and I don't think that will ever get better because of finger stiffness.

My daily driver right now is a matias mini tactile pro. I cannot think of a better compact layout, however, I do NOT use a numpad. Second to this layout is the usual 75% layout, like the KBDFans75.
AEK Orange AlpsSiig Minitouch with Orange Alps, Chicony 5192 Futaba MA, Whitefox 60% Zealios 67g, Realforce 87U 55g Topre, CoolerMaster Quickfire Rapid TKL Cherry MX Blue, Eagletec Falcon Z-77 Mod-M, NEC APC-H412 NEC Blue Ovals, Unicomp Model-M Spacesaver, XMIT Hall Effect, WASD Code Cherry MX Clear, KBDFans75 Lubed Gateron Greens, Azio MGK L80 Kailh Brown, XD84 Pale Blue Box Kailh, NIB Pingmaster TMK Converted

Offline MajorKoos

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #24 on: Fri, 19 January 2018, 07:43:23 »
My daily driver right now is a matias mini tactile pro.

I totally forgot about Matias - good call.
Those quiet switches have internal dampeners.
I've been eyeing the ergo model:
http://matias.ca/ergopro/pc/
https://matias.store/products/ergo-pro-keyboard-for-pc-low-force-edition

Offline letsfixitinpost

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #25 on: Fri, 19 January 2018, 09:23:03 »
I've decided for now to go with the F660C.  Seemed like the size is perfect, I like the aesthetic,  and it has the topre switches.  Maybe a little pricey, but it's fine I've been holding off on buying just about anything for myself for a long time. I appreciate all the input I would not have arrived at the decision without it.  Unfortunately it's backordered so I won't get it until mid Feb, but when I do I will write a review as best I can.  Thanks again


Offline letsfixitinpost

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #27 on: Fri, 19 January 2018, 11:12:31 »
I was going to say how does everyone customize these FC660Cs so much.  Very excited!  My wallet not so much!

I actually want to get a nice coiled cable as well.

Offline MajorKoos

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #28 on: Fri, 19 January 2018, 11:18:20 »
A mate of mine uses mechcables.com for that.

Offline seva1385

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #29 on: Fri, 19 January 2018, 11:38:36 »
Any suggestions?

I wonder if you had any experience with sculpted keyboards, like Kinesis Advantage2; finger travel is greatly reduced. Admittedly, MX Browns and Reds are heavier than you sought.

And forgive me for unsolicited advice, but I learned that for many younger arthritic people, diet change works wonders. I myself had gout, not just in toes, but in other joints, including wrists; by trial and error, I figured out if I don't eat soy products, I don't get flares.   
Kinesis Advantage (2 original + 1 with QMK f/w)
Maltron RH

Offline letsfixitinpost

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #30 on: Fri, 19 January 2018, 11:44:51 »
Any suggestions?

I wonder if you had any experience with sculpted keyboards, like Kinesis Advantage2; finger travel is greatly reduced. Admittedly, MX Browns and Reds are heavier than you sought.

And forgive me for unsolicited advice, but I learned that for many younger arthritic people, diet change works wonders. I myself had gout, not just in toes, but in other joints, including wrists; by trial and error, I figured out if I don't eat soy products, I don't get flares.

Unsolicited advice is ok.  I have noticed that the small things compound significantly to reduce the issues combined with the right medication.  For me cutting red meat out has helped tremendously, along with a more leafy green plant based diet.  I still eat meat like Turkey and chicken.  I do more fish rich in fish oils like sardines, and things of that nature. 

For me the biggest improvement was getting back into exercise.  When I got hit with this initially I was in the gym 3-4 times a week, and riding my bike constantly.  I spent like 2 years on the couch and in my bed.  I took off a year from work and did remote work.  I think thats where the anxiety and confidence issues clicked in.  So lately I've begun to exercise again, stretch, rolling out, and just forcing myself to go out.  A doctor told me resting at home won't do anything to help the situation, so you might as well be out and about.  So that being said, just a life lesson.  The interesting thing is being at home got me interested in building pcs again, and building custom water loops.  With that I got a bit more interested in the keyboard thing and now I'm here lol.

Edit:  Adding in, I started taking Tumeric supplements also, and adding ginger to my meals.  Supposed to be anti-inflammatory, but maybe its placebo
« Last Edit: Fri, 19 January 2018, 11:46:29 by letsfixitinpost »

Offline letsfixitinpost

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #31 on: Tue, 30 January 2018, 17:03:56 »
Just an update.  So as faith has it one of my co workers complained they got a new keyboard with some tough to type on keys.  Turns out its an editing keyboard from WASD with silenced reds.  I jumped on it, and swapped with them my apple chicklet style board.  So far liking it a lot!  I needed a wrist rest, but the sound dampeners definitely give it a bit of a soft landing. 

Still waiting on my fc660c.  I ended up canceling a preorder and getting one off ebay new.  I will report back with how i like it.  But the situation at work vastly improved!

Offline MajorKoos

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #32 on: Tue, 30 January 2018, 19:03:17 »
That's awesome :)

I do recommend hanging in there for the FC660 as it's even more plush when bottoming out, and with those silencing rings it's even quieter than those silent reds. 

Offline ErgoMacros

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Re: TKL or less layout for arthritis battered fingertips
« Reply #33 on: Tue, 30 January 2018, 22:59:35 »
@ OP:

Didn't read this whole thread in detail (sorry) but here's another user with st least some shared problems:
    https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=92771.0

Worth a read. And welcome to GH.
Today's quote: '...“but then the customer successfully broke that.”