How you sit at your desk and where you have your arms and legs will have a big impact on how fast you can type, because when you’re sitting out of alignment or in an uncomfortable position, your speed will slow and your error rate increase. In addition, improper keyboard height and position can both lead to the development of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, tendonitis, and other wrist problems. It can also cause shoulder and hand pain.
Finding the ideal keyboard position is made simpler by focusing on a position that is natural and relaxed, one that creates the letter “L” like your legs and body do when they’re in the right position. Let your arms hang down to your sides naturally so that they don’t cause your shoulders to hunch. When bent at the elbow, your arm and forearm should form the letter “L” – or, if easier to visualize, a ninety degree angle. When properly positioned, your keyboard and your elbows should both be about the same height. You should also be able to naturally curve your fingers and position them close to the keys.
Remember to use your chair’s arm rests to alleviate excess weight on your back and shoulders. If necessary, you can purchase a keyboard tray, an accessory that can be attached to your desk and adjusted.
As with your computer monitor, the placement of your keyboard on your work surface matters. You don’t want it too close to you or too far away. If you have to stretch your arms and tilt your torso forward to reach it, it’s too far. If the keyboard is too close, your arms and forearms will create more of a “V” shape than the preferred ninety degree angle or “L-shape”.
If you find you bend your wrists sideways or upwards while typing on the keyboard, you will have to make adjustments or consider purchasing one of the other styles of keyboard available.
The best advice for maintaining a more neutral wrist posture is to try adjusting your keyboard or your chair’s height. Additionally, you can try elevating either the back or the front of your keyboard. Finally, you can consider adding a wrist rest to your work surface. Some keyboards have built-in wrist rests. If yours doesn’t have this feature, don’t worry. They can be purchased inexpensively and can definitely help reduce the risk of developing RSI.
Note: If you experience musculoskeletal pain and discomfort now, or while completing the Typesy Course, you may need to seek professional help. Only someone with the proper training can accurately diagnosis the source of your pain or discomfort and recommend a treatment plan that may or may not include ergonomics.
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