Dr. Bonnie Verhunce
Choosing the Right Keyboard and Mouse Wrist Pad
Computer work has become the backbone of most of our daily lives. But with its rise in the workplace, there has been a concurrent increase in injuries associated with repetitive computer work, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury. Incorrect usage of a keyboard or a mouse can be the culprit, since unnatural keyboard positions exert stress on the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the hands and wrists. An unsupported wrist can be the cause of wrist fatigue, and if your wrist is resting in the incorrect position, extensive typing, can pose a threat.
Ergonomic equipment can help to minimize the risks of injury during extended computer work. If you are a frequent computer user, it might be worth investing in an ergonomic mouse pad or keyboard.
When looking for an ergonomic mouse pad, there are some key features to take into
consideration. Look for a mouse pad that allows you to maintain your natural hand position. It needs to imitate the position the wrist has when at rest, by providing an angled surface. Also, make sure the mouse pad has a non-slip grip to ensure it remains in place under normal movement. Purchasing an ergonomic mouse pad and choosing one made from soft material or filled with a soft gel can help to remove the pressure from the tendons and nerves. Hard materials cause compression and pressure on the tendons and nerves in the wrist, and can lead to pain and discomfort. Most importantly, check that the pad is comfortable, offering a good position for your wrist at rest and good freedom of movement while working.
When it comes to keyboards, a wrist rest is a good investment, since it’s designed to give your wrists a break after typing for long periods of time. If you’re typing incorrectly, it helps to alleviate the pain associated with repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome. A good wrist rest helps to keep your wrists off the edge of the hard desk and can also help to prevent incorrect posture during typing. Before buying a wrist rest, make sure you know the height and width of your keyboard. There are many styles available on the market, and it’s important to find the wrist rest comfortable for you. It needs to be the same height and width of your keyboard and it’s key to find a wrist rest that conforms to the shape of your wrist. When placing the wrist rest against the edge of the keyboard, there shouldn’t be a gap between the two. Adjust the position so that the wrist rest is set at the edge of the desk. References used:  http://www.healthycomputing.com/office/setup/keyboard/ Accessed October 2011  http://www.ehow.com/how_7260284_use-wrist-rest.html Accessed October 2011  http://www.ehow.com/how_2216327_choose-ergonomic-mouse-pad.html Accessed October 2011  http://www.wisegeek.com/do-i-need-a-wrist-rest-for-my-mouse-pad-and-keyboard.htm Accessed October 2011.