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Chuck Wintle
08-01-2008, 6:08 PM
I need to get another keyboard that offers the least strain on my wrists which, I suspect, are developing arthritis. In looking at the various models there are many that claim to reduce strain but I cannot be sure which ones. That is why I am asking this question on SMC because there are so many smart people in this forum. :D

David G Baker
08-01-2008, 6:18 PM
I use the Microsoft ergonomic keyboard. It works for me, is not too fancy but is very comfortable.

Garth Keel
08-01-2008, 7:28 PM
I second the Microsoft split keyboard. I have used this for about 8 years both at home and at work. I tried another brand of split keyboard but it didn't last. I think you will also find that your typing speed will increase. It only takes a few days to get used to the split.:)

Chris Kennedy
08-01-2008, 7:30 PM
Charles,

I am not going to recommend a keyboard, but a method. I have, according to my rheumatologist, weak tendons. Between typing, writing, and writing at blackboards, I get serious inflammation in my wrists, which at first was thought to be rheumatoid arthritis (different cause from osteopathic, but same basic problem).

The method that has been most helpful in alleviating strain has been to elevate my wrists when I type. This isn't the same as what you see for carpal tunnel -- you'll see wrist supports. They stop you from dropping your wrists too much. This is a matter of keeping your entire forearms, wrist to elbow, parallel to the desk. This is significantly higher -- you wouldn't come into contact with the wrist support.

When I was learning piano as a kid, my teacher used to say that I should pretend I was holding a bubble between my fingers and my palm, and I shouldn't drop my wrist or the bubble would break. That same approach to typing is what I have used and has taken a lot of strain off. It has been the most helpful with all the things I have tried (which has been a lot . . . )
To that end, I have used all variety of keyboards -- laptops, desktops, ergonomic and regular -- and this has provided the most benefit.

Hope that helps. Good luck,

Chris

Gary Curtis
08-01-2008, 8:28 PM
after 35 year career as a writer, here's what a learned.

With typewriters, I always rummaged around the office to find the lowest typewriter stand.

With computers, get a worksurface with a pull out keyboard tray below the table height.

The key is height, as Chris notes. You want a low keyboard position.

When personal computers were introduced to the newspaper/magazine business in the early 1980s, I briefly developed Carpal Tenon Syndrome. Lowering the keyboard corrected the situation with no medical intervention.

Gary Curtis

Jeff Bratt
08-01-2008, 8:29 PM
There's not one keyboard or a single solution that's right for everyone. Still, there are guidelines that will help. One - look at the height of the chair and keyboard - your elbows should be at close to a 90 angle. Two - try out some wrist support - your wrists should not be bent when your hands are in typing position. There are pads that go on the desk or the kind that actually support your forearms. Three - try different keyboards - some people like the Microsoft ergonomic keyboard, other hate it. Four - take breaks - long stretches of typing are not good no matter what equipment you have.