Author Topic: Best keyboard for textbook carpal tunnel?  (Read 17883 times)

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Offline ranker

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Best keyboard for textbook carpal tunnel?
« on: Tue, 14 May 2019, 02:19:37 »
Can anyone recommend a good keyboard to help with preventing or helping textbook carpal tunnel from spending too much time at a desk typing?  I feel really lucky that although I had to quit using a keyboard altogether for months, my carpal tunnel completely went away.  However it was super painful and scary as hell not being able to use a computer at normal speed.  I'm back to being at a desk all day but for some reason it hasn't come back yet. 

But i'm wondering if anyone has a keyboard they use to help specifically with carpal tunnel?  Or any thoughts or advice like using one of those two piece split boards?

If it's a mechanical keyboard, that's obviously a bonus but for my specific application that's not the priority at all.

Offline Lanrefni

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Re: Best keyboard for textbook carpal tunnel?
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 14 May 2019, 17:56:57 »
A split board with some negative tilt helps a lot.

I feel you on the carpal tunnel pain,I was at the point where my fingers would randomly go numb,opted for the surgery on both hands,left was done 2 months ago and feels a lot better,getting the stitches pulled from the right next Monday,so so 6-8 months for the nerves to finish regenerating,the annoyance of losing the use of a hand for a couple weeks is worth it.

Offline Sintpinty

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Re: Best keyboard for textbook carpal tunnel?
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 18 May 2019, 21:07:34 »
Can anyone recommend a good keyboard to help with preventing or helping textbook carpal tunnel from spending too much time at a desk typing?  I feel really lucky that although I had to quit using a keyboard altogether for months, my carpal tunnel completely went away.  However it was super painful and scary as hell not being able to use a computer at normal speed.  I'm back to being at a desk all day but for some reason it hasn't come back yet. 

But i'm wondering if anyone has a keyboard they use to help specifically with carpal tunnel?  Or any thoughts or advice like using one of those two piece split boards?

If it's a mechanical keyboard, that's obviously a bonus but for my specific application that's not the priority at all.

Don't worry, i have hand pain as well. :confused:

Offline ranker

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Re: Best keyboard for textbook carpal tunnel?
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 22 May 2019, 10:29:17 »
A split board with some negative tilt helps a lot.

I feel you on the carpal tunnel pain,I was at the point where my fingers would randomly go numb,opted for the surgery on both hands,left was done 2 months ago and feels a lot better,getting the stitches pulled from the right next Monday,so so 6-8 months for the nerves to finish regenerating,the annoyance of losing the use of a hand for a couple weeks is worth it.

When you first started feeling the pain, did you stop typing?  Or was that not an option....At first I didn't know if it would go away and I know a few people got the surgery because I guess it can spread or something?  Not sure if that's accurate but I remember something about it potentially spreading up the arm, it might have been something else I was thinking of that was similar.  I'm just wondering what convinced you to get the surgery, besides the hellish pain obviously.

Offline LightenS

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Re: Best keyboard for textbook carpal tunnel?
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 22 May 2019, 12:49:57 »
My left wrist was experiencing pain last year so I started research and built the Dactyl keyboard, which you can buy a variant that's Kinesis Advantage 2.

However, I would say that changing the keyboard layout will be more beneficial.  I am using Colemak with angle-mod everyday now since December last year.  Took me about two weeks to adjust and 1 month to start using at work.  You will definitely feel typing is more ease on the hand since fingers do not need to move much.  It will take a while to adjust, but it will help in the long run.   This is another chance for you to slow down in typing, changing the pattern will help the pain.
« Last Edit: Wed, 22 May 2019, 12:52:52 by LightenS »

Offline Lanrefni

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Re: Best keyboard for textbook carpal tunnel?
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 22 May 2019, 12:59:17 »
A split board with some negative tilt helps a lot.

I feel you on the carpal tunnel pain,I was at the point where my fingers would randomly go numb,opted for the surgery on both hands,left was done 2 months ago and feels a lot better,getting the stitches pulled from the right next Monday,so so 6-8 months for the nerves to finish regenerating,the annoyance of losing the use of a hand for a couple weeks is worth it.

When you first started feeling the pain, did you stop typing?  Or was that not an option....At first I didn't know if it would go away and I know a few people got the surgery because I guess it can spread or something?  Not sure if that's accurate but I remember something about it potentially spreading up the arm, it might have been something else I was thinking of that was similar.  I'm just wondering what convinced you to get the surgery, besides the hellish pain obviously.

I've had finger pain since I screwed a couple of them up at a manufacturing job,what got me to the doctor wasn't the pain,it was my entire hand going numb that freaked me the hell out,turns out the pain was an early symptom that I should have paid attention to,but didn't. Sometimes having crazy high pain tolerance can be a very bad thing.

Offline skwrn

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Re: Best keyboard for textbook carpal tunnel?
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 07 June 2019, 07:07:17 »
For me, couple solutions all together helped me with not getting carpal tunnel syndrome any more:

1. wrist rest for the keyboard (I am using 65% now)
2. smaller keyboard factor (even TKL was too wide and I was bending my back left, and the right hand was also unnaturally placed on the keyboard because of that)
3. more ergonomic mouse ( there is a difference between my old Logitech G700 and the new MX Master, which makes my hand rotate externally a little bit)
4. not using touchpad on laptop (even tho Macs have the most amazing touchpad, the angle of the hand makes the wrist lie down in the most inappropriate position, rotated internally almost to maximum extent)

Nevertheless, I am waiting for parts for my Quefrency split keyboard, so the angle of wrists during typing is better. With time, I will probably switch to Ergodox with orto layout, but I am too scared to do such a drastic change right now.

Offline Sintpinty

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Re: Best keyboard for textbook carpal tunnel?
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 07 June 2019, 09:31:42 »
Can anyone recommend a good keyboard to help with preventing or helping textbook carpal tunnel from spending too much time at a desk typing?  I feel really lucky that although I had to quit using a keyboard altogether for months, my carpal tunnel completely went away.  However it was super painful and scary as hell not being able to use a computer at normal speed.  I'm back to being at a desk all day but for some reason it hasn't come back yet. 

But i'm wondering if anyone has a keyboard they use to help specifically with carpal tunnel?  Or any thoughts or advice like using one of those two piece split boards?

If it's a mechanical keyboard, that's obviously a bonus but for my specific application that's not the priority at all.

Negative tilt or tilt is the key to relieving pain. Iris and Ergodox or Manuform are the most popular ones.

Ergo stuff is too weird for me so i don't use it. But i might have to use it someday......

Offline plainbriny

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Re: Best keyboard for textbook carpal tunnel?
« Reply #8 on: Sun, 09 June 2019, 20:00:13 »
Use trackball instead of mouse, or try a vertical mouse.
As for keyboard, split ergo keyboard helps a lot.

Offline praxis87

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Re: Best keyboard for textbook carpal tunnel?
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 19 July 2019, 13:57:18 »
I got really bad carpal tunnel ~7 months ago.  A dactyl-manuform (and custom mouse - see https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=98360.100) helped a lot.  I still had the surgery (successful), but the keyboard and mouse helped quite a bit.
Dactyl-Manuform 5x6 | 1984 IBM Model M | Anne Pro 2 | Sweet16 | MEM-AR v9

Offline RSanders

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Re: Best keyboard for textbook carpal tunnel?
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 13 September 2019, 10:59:44 »
If you have the good fortune of finding one in good used condition as the company is long dead, the DataHand is the best option.  It completely reversed my carpal tunnel syndrome, tenosynovitis, and tendonitis, saving me from having to undergo any sort of invasive procedures.   

From the currently available commercial keyboards, your best bet is probably the Maltron followed somewhat closely by the Kinesis.  If you get a "letter of medical necessity" from your physician, it is possible that some insurance companies may cover one or the other. I personally paid for the DataHand out of pocket because at the time, ergonomic entry devices, while available, were not quite as recognized as is the case now.  When I was having the symptoms, I had employer covered twice-weekly chair massages focusing on the upper extremities, NSAIDS around the clock, wrist braces to force my wrists to maintain correct posture, and handeze therapeutic gloves underneath the braces to prevent chafing.  After about six months or so on the DataHand, I no longer had to use the braces except periodically at night and now I don't use the braces/handeze at all. I still get some discomfort after doing a lot of typing on Maltron/Kinesis, almost instantaneous discomfort on any flat keyboard (including my Model M which I keep around as a guilty pleasure), and no discomfort whatsoever with the DataHand. 

Barring the above, you could always make your own from the various open source options available today.  I personally will be doing this in the near future with the lalboard.com as it is the closest analogue available to the DataHand and my DataHand is very likely not going to outlast me. 


My current workstation (above) consists of a Herman-Miller Aeron with Posturefit upgrade and DataHand Pro II mounted on the arms.  My elbows/forearms/palms are completely supported in proper alignment with this arrangement. For entry not requiring consistently shifting between mouse and keyboard, I use this primarily. For work requiring frequent shifting between pointing device and keyboard, I have an Ergo-Rest for both forearms with the height correctly adjusted to a Maltron M90. I split the workload when pointing by using right hand controlling movement via an ITAC Evolution Mouse-Trak trackball and left hand clicking using the buttons for the integrated trackball on the Maltron. The Ergo-Rests make a big difference as they support the entire weight of my arms leaving my hands to "float" above the Maltron and comfortably rest on the ITAC Evolution.  Occasionally I will put either the Maltron, a Kinesis, or the Model M on my lap. For portable situations, I use a Kinesis in conjunction with the ITAC Evolution, though ergonomics in general tends to go out the window when going portable.

Ergonomics is very subjective and you, the end user, has to determine what combination of body posture, furniture, and input devices will work for your situation, especially over the long term.

Offline RSanders

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Re: Best keyboard for textbook carpal tunnel?
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 18 September 2019, 10:56:56 »
Don't worry, i have hand pain as well. :confused:

Ergo stuff is too weird for me so i don't use it. But i might have to use it someday......

Sintpinty, if you are already experiencing pain, you need to seriously consider using at least some of the ergonomic options currently available.  You don't want to end up with permanent injury. This is not something to take lightly. I am making a potentially incorrect but likely assumption that you are quite young based on your interest in Roblox.  You might be able to shrug of the pain now but just wait a decade or two. Talk to physical therapists and learn the best exercises/stretches to use before/during/after data entry.  Start using ergonomic solutions now and save yourself a lot of grief. If you are already older and having pain, you really need to take this seriously.  At some point the body starts to experience age-related delayed healing and it is all downhill from there.