Here are some Great Ergonomic Keyboard/Mouse Tips to make sure your PC does not win the battle!
The keyboard should be placed just above the level of your lap. This is lower than most people normally place their keyboard. Let your arms tilt downward while using the keyboard and leave your elbows at a comfortable “open” angle. If you don’t have an adjustable keyboard tray, you may need to accomplish this by adjusting your chair height.
Using a slightly negative keyboard tilt will help you keep your wrists in the proper (neutral) postion. Try to avoid positive keyboard tilt (i.e., where the top row of keys is noticeably higher than the bottom row of keys). Also, make sure that if there are “feet” attached to the bottom front of your keyboard that they are left un-extended. Choose a system that is height adjustable. This lets you tilt the keyboard away from you slightly for better posture (negative tilt) and allows you to use the mouse with your upper arms relaxed and as close to the body as possible. Use your shoulder, not your wrist for all mouse motions.
If you use a keyboard tray, make sure there is enough room for your mouse. It should be close to your keyboard and on the same level so you don’t have to reach far to grasp it. Also, if possible use an elbow pad for the arm that is using the mouse.
Split keyboards divide the keyboard into two halves, each of which points slightly outwards. The outward angle lets your wrists and forearms point inward without requiring your elbows to come in as far, better conforming to the contours of your body. Conversely, thinner people may find a traditional “straight” keyboard more comfortable.
Repeatedly bending your wrists up and down restricts the structures inside the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This can cause pain and lead to injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. When you are typing, your forearms tend to sag as the arms tire putting the wrist into even greater wrist extension.
If you are feeling any symptoms that may be ergonomically related be sure to call Chait Chiropractic Center at (941)371-1070 for a complimentary consultation.
Dr. Chait is also available for workplace presentations on proper ergonomics as part of his on-going community service.