PC gaming ergonomics: Should you use a wrist rest for your keyboard or mouse?
One thing we asked you about recently is whether or not you should use a wrist rest with your keyboard or your mouse. Some keyboards come with them. Some mouse pads come with them, but are they actually ergonomic uh? The answer to this one, as is the answer to a lot of the questions i get asked is it depends for the most part having a wrist rest isn’t, a bad thing. It can help. You keep your wrist in a nice neutral position, not letting it get too flexed or too extended. The problem comes when that wrist stress does force you into position of too much flexion or too much extension or too much flexion or when that wrist rest is pressing right against the front of your wrist. If you’re, using your wrist rest on your wrist, proper um it’s, actually a problem right here is where your carpal tunnel runs, which i think, like literally every gamer, knows at this point, because we’re all terrified that someday we’re gon na have tunnel syndrome it’s right here. There’S very little that um comes over top of it to provide extra support in the event of pressure. However, if you were to rest, your heel of your hand on your wrist rest, instead there’s all this muscle, there’s all this bone covering up those smaller, more delicate structures underneath so there’s, something to take the pressure as opposed to just pushing directly into that area. With all those tendons and nerves, if you rested right on your wrist, so yes wrist rest is totally fine.
In fact, i have one on my keyboard, but when you’re using it, you want to make sure it’s the heel of your hand, not the meat of your wrist that is directly on that and receiving the pressure. That’S really useful advice brings me to another thing, which is that pretty much every keyboard you get has little legs on the back to tilt it toward you right. So my whole life i’ve just sort of assumed that there was something inherently better about that since it’s built into pretty much everything. But you suggested that that may not be the case. Can you can you talk to me about keyboard tilt and what is actually a good idea sure, so one of the things i mentioned about 30 seconds ago was that excessive wrist extension or flexion is a problem. When you extend your wrist you’re, putting a different kind of pressure across the same structures right here, you’re still providing compressive stress on them, um, just in the form of of the amount of tension you’re pushing on them from behind, as opposed to from the front. So if you’ve got your keyboard tilted too high away from you, you are going to push into that excessive degree of extension. Um, an excessive is anything more than about 15 degrees of extinction, which is about here most of us, our wrists rest in some degree of extinction, usually about 10 or so degrees and that’s, totally fine and totally normal it’s.
When you start pushing beyond 15 degrees that you’re putting a little bit more consistent strain across this area and putting yourself at a little bit more risk for compressive or strain related injuries, it can actually be useful to tilt your keyboard a little bit away from you. Depending on the height of your armrests and the height of your chair, the it depends of this part of things because of course, there’s a knit depends involved is, if you are sitting significantly say, uh if you’re, if you’re sitting lower um than the height of your Desk for some reason, um, you might need to incline your um, your keyboard, a little bit differently. Um, really the goal is not so much should i incline my keyboard or not it’s, because it’s not it’s, not a an objective, generalizable answer it’s. What keyboard position lets me? Keep this nice neutral to 15 degree, wrist extension position and then experimenting with it from there, because different keyboards are going to have different results. Mine uh, i tilt the. I have a split keyboard, so i tilt the inside edges up and the outside edges down a little bit which lets me rest in a neutral position, but that again has to do with the positioning of my chair, the height of my armrests, the relatively short length Of my arms, because i’m small, so as with all ergonomic things, don’t worry so much about what is objectively generalizably, true figure out what is good posture start from there and then build your ergonomic setup around that great advice again.
So what we want to do is not make any hard rules, but just pay attention to how we’re holding our hands right and look for pressure on the actual wrist which we don’t want and too much of that or that we want it fairly straight. Yes, well thanks, you got it so much um. I will observe the way i use my keyboard and i’m sure it’s all wrong and uh and make some changes.