Wrist rests

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Wrist rests

Postposted on Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:30 am

I'm probably gonna get RSI because I use a computer in excess of 10 hours a day, every day, so I'm thinking I should start preparing for it.

Now i heard that it may be a bad idea to get a wrist rest for the keyboard because the best position for typing is to keep your wrists elevated rather than resting on anything. But I think that means that if I have a thick enough wrist rest bar I could still keep my hands on them and still be in the optimal position!

I'll probably want one for the mouse too.

Anybody have recommendations? Good experiences?
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:41 am

An alternative is to get a low profile ergo keyboard.
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:44 am

I have something similar to this 3M gel wrist rest:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6826998142

That's not exactly the same as mine, but close enough. I bought it in 1998 at my first job out of school. Here we are 14 years later and it's a disgusting mess, has split in the middle in the bottom and oozes its bluish green guts out a little bit, but still going strong. It was respectable until about 2 years ago. But, hey, you can't beat getting 10-12 years out of a $16 wrist rest. There's hundreds of thousands of lines of code written on this wrist rest, my friend.

For my particular keyboard and the way I sit, my wrist rests ever so slightly on it and it doesn't cause me problems. I take lots of breaks though ("compiling code", "waiting for a database query", whatever), and I think that helps keep the pain away.
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:47 am

I think I'm pretty dead set on a standard layout keyboard, since i've used them all my life and i'm comfortable with the layout. The main problem with the way I type that isn't compatible with ergo keyboards is the B key. Ergonomic keyboards always split down the middle and put the B key on the left but I always use my right index finger to hit that key. It's also extremely difficult to find ergo keyboards with mechanical switches.

I think part of why I want a rest is so I can have something soft to put my hands on.

3M always makes quality products so I'd be partial to something of theirs. I'm wondering if there are other ones, like those ones with soft beads in them, which seem to be even softer than the gel ones. I dunno if that means theyll end up getting squished out of the way in a big long bar format though.

I think I'll give this one a try.

http://www.amazon.com/Allsop-29809-Comf ... B000XV16LS

It's just $10.
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:38 am

I found the gel wrist rests to be uncomfortable at best, but objectively they're actually hard enough to cause RSI or worsen a case of it.

The cotton, "bean bag" wrist rests (like the one you linked) I hear are much better, but I find that laying my keyboard down flat, and positioning my elbows on my chair work best for me.
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:39 am

APWNH wrote:I'm probably gonna get RSI because I use a computer in excess of 10 hours a day, every day, so I'm thinking I should start preparing for it.

Anybody have recommendations? Good experiences?

RSI? ORLY! Have you tried out this software solution yet? http://www.workrave.org/
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:12 pm

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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:29 pm

I've recently gotten a mechanical key keyboard from Deck Keyboards (Cherry MX "black" switches) and since its lower "edge" is quite raised and the keyboard doesn't come with any kind of wrist pad, I had to order one separately. This is what I ordered:
http://www.amazon.com/3M-Leatherette-An ... 674&sr=1-1
It's large enough to cover whole length of keyboard, it has a very easy-to-clean and durable "leatherette" surface (I hate, HATE when some manufacturers use cheap "cloth"-like crap surface), a pretty "sticky" bottom (doesn't "slide" around my very slippery laminate-covered desk surface) and is not too "squishy" (which I personally dislike) like majority of gel-filled wrist pads and not too "firm" - feels just "right" and so far I never felt any discomfort after typing a lot of text or spending many hours/day playing some game.
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:28 am

From what I understand, wrist rests actually hasten the onset of carpal tunnel, which arises due to pressure being placed on the wrist tendons. If you lay your arm flat on the table, you'll notice that the wrist area naturally curves up and away from any surfaces your arm may rest on so that the tendons in the wrist aren't constrained, but a wrist rest will defeat that natural protection. If you find yourself in a bad typing position, you should be adjusting the armrests on your chair and/or the height of the table/keyboard tray rather than artificially propping your wrists up with a rest. From my own personal experience, I've found wrists rests actually increase the strain on my forearms and makes it awkward for me to type. A palm rest is nice however.
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:14 am

IME, a flat keyboard and position such that my elbows can comfortable rest on the desk works best. No wrist rests. I also find that switching it up a bit (moving mouse and keyboard) helps, too.
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:20 am

Don't just buy gel pads and assume that's doing anything useful.

Look at your wrists as you type and mouse. The idea is to minimise tendon movement across an angled wrist. Microsoft's Natural keyboards help a lot in this respect because they are angled to straighten the wrist from above, and incorporate a wist wrest, effectively meaning that the keyboard is completely flat from the side (in terms of your wrist angle). Any ergo keyboard will help, but the goal is to adjust your peripherals/chair/desk/posture to ensure that your wrists aren't bent up or out. A keyboard/mouse is only a small part of the overall solution.

In terms of mice, claw-grip is better than 'resting on the mouse' since you do more mouse movement with your fingers than your wrist, and you also take a lot of strain of your shoulder and upper arm by wresting your whole lower arm on the desk instead. The key to an ergonomic claw grip is a big, light, mouse with flat sides. Ambidextrous designs work best like the MS WMO but I also get on well with the Logitech G9x with it's claw-grip specific 'precision-grip' shell.

The most important thing is to minimise repetetive movements across an angled wrist. Changing your keyboard or mouse can help you solve this problem but just making everything soft and comfortable with gel pads isn't the solution. With the right chair and desk height, you can use most mice without issue. An ergo keyboard is mandatory, IMO because of the sort of thing straight keyboads force as per this diagram.
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:38 am

Chrispy_ wrote:The most important thing is to minimize repetitive movements across an angled wrist. Changing your keyboard or mouse can help you solve this problem but just making everything soft and comfortable with gel pads isn't the solution. With the right chair and desk height, you can use most mice without issue. An ergo keyboard is mandatory, IMO because of the sort of thing straight keyboards force as per this diagram.

So that image you linked... There's a larger one that shows all aspects of doing it right or wrong: http://www.thegleek.com/images/keyboard_rsi_prevent.jpg

This is the way I've been doing it for the past 20+ years:

Image

And finally, here's the website that demystifies RSI: http://www.eyeprotectorpro.com/rsirepet ... tectorpro/
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:48 am

Yeah, the most comfortable position for me seems to be the "right" one. The wrist rest keeps them in that horizontal position while gently resting on something, so it kind of prevents the wrists from moving to a lower, wrong position. I'd say that's a plus.

My Das Cherry Brown switch keyboard is due to get here today, I can't wait! This wrist rest I just got seems a bit high for this very thin keyboard I'm using now but a mechanical keyboard is much more elevated so I think it will work very well.

I noticed that the mouse I use doesn't seem to benefit from a rest at all! It's a Razer Mamba and the curve at the back of it is such that my wrist ends up resting lightly on the table/mousepad itself. So if I elevate that I'm reaching my hand down/forward.
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:18 am

Does anybody know if there is a "clicky" keyboard that also has a natural configuration? I've got a Unicomp keyboard now that I love, but I also love the old Microsoft Natural keyboards too.
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:24 am

5150 wrote:Does anybody know if there is a "clicky" keyboard that also has a natural configuration? I've got a Unicomp keyboard now that I love, but I also love the old Microsoft Natural keyboards too.


It's gonna be hard to find something exactly like that. And will probably be quite expensive.

Kinesis fits the bill for "ergonomic" but it isn't the "natural" configuration by a long shot.
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:16 pm

thegleek wrote:There's a larger one that shows all aspects of doing it right or wrong: http://www.thegleek.com/images/keyboard_rsi_prevent.jpg
Image

The problem with that image is that it has your hands:

a) hovering unsupported. This is hard work - a wrist rest of some kind is required to elevate your palm to at least the level of the keycaps. That fact it's not shown is misleading.

b) the hands are next to each other, and wrists are straight. impossible
Put your elbows together in front of your navel, like you were tying to squash your breasts/manboobs/manly-pectoral-muscles. This is the only position that your can put your arms in such a way that they will look like the image above. NOT COMFORTABLE.

The whole point of a 'natural' keyboard is to allow your arms to be straight. The 'natural keyboards' are offset such that the keys for each hand make a nice staight line to your shoulders. Because, er... people's wrists and arms are connected by straight bones to the shoulders?

I can't find the picture, but just try it: thegleek.com's top-down image is almost anatomically impossible.
In order to get your elbows close enough together to make parallel forearms, you have to twist your elbows and your hands naturally rotate as if you were holding a mug with both hands. I'm fairly flexible and with my elbows together, I can barely get my hands horizontal - it's a real stretch and to do this for more than 30 seconds would probably be verging on AGONY.
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:38 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:I can't find the picture, but just try it: thegleek.com's top-down image is almost anatomically impossible.

I think you might be over-analyzing it a bit. The idea is that your hands should land inline with your forearm on both the horizontal and vertical axes. All of the motions in your hands and fingers are controlled by tendons linked to muscles in your forearm, so if you are typing with the axis of your hand significantly rotated relative to the axis of your forearm, the tendons drag through the carpal tunnel. Long term, this can lead to irritation and inflammation.

Although my hands and arms do not land on my keyboard in parallel, each arm and hand does land on a common axis, and the differential length of the fingers allows them to curl and descend fairly naturally on the default keys. No off-axis wrist position required. The "natural" style keyboards just make this a little easier.
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:23 am

I find that I have no problem with the regular keyboard layout because it's quite natural to have my index finger reach a little bit further. My hands don't really need to get twisted just because the keyboard's in a straight layout.

So I got the Das Ultimate Silent (Cherry brown switch) keyboard yesterday and I was sorely disappointed in the action of the keys. I used to have a Unicomp but the cherry browns are a far cry from the buckling spring goodness.

So I ordered a Unicomp Endurapro (slightly smaller than the Customizer, has a mouse thingy between G, H and B) in black with a set of black blank keys. So that will keep me a happy typist I hope.
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:26 am

I've not used Cherry browns, but find that I slightly prefer Cherry blues to buckling spring. Just curious whether you've ever used Cherry blues...
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Re: Wrist rests

Postposted on Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:23 am

I used my friend's Das which has cherry blues, but i only pressed a few keys a few times. It's quite similar to the browns. I remember having the impression that it felt inferior to the buckling springs to me at the time but I wasn't convinced till now.

The issue is the action of the key travel. There's not a better word to describe it with than "scratchy", the feeling of plastic rubbing on plastic.

I had gotten accustomed to the feedback of the *snap* of the spring buckling. On a rubber-dome the feedback of bottoming out also corresponds to key activation well... As for the cherry brown on the other hand, I am convinced that the mechanism involves too much friction. And since the plastic used in these switches isn't a nice teflon-coated plastic, it bothers me. At this point I'm sure i'd like the blues quite a bit more than the browns simply because it will provide the audible click for feedback but i'm sure the rest of the experience will be the same... I much prefer buckling spring, even if it means somewhat higher activation pressure.

Update: Well I just played a bunch of CS:S today on the Das and it is quite good for gaming, probably a good bit better than buckling spring for that at least. Still I'm sure cherry red or black would be much preferable.
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