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10 Ergonomic Keyboard Benefits To Help Prevent Injury

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Tim Rhodes

An ergonomic keyboard is vital, not only for speed but also for preventing injuries, and the ergonomic keyboard benefits are huge.

For you, it’s not important because if a key registers upon the press, then it’s fine.

Did you know, that besides bad posture, wrong keyboard choice is one of the major causes of body pain?

Not feeling pain now doesn’t mean you’re not having any, a minor wrist pain might be gone the next day but will come back later.

Negligible injuries accumulate over time and will remind you when it’s too late and that’s why using an ergonomic keyboard has a lot of benefits.

It will force you to take day-offs and sometimes permanent work leave, for you to see a doctor, take medications and spend more money while not earning any.

10 Ergonomic Keyboard Benefits To Help Prevent Injury

Here are 10 ergonomic keyboard benefits to help prevent injury.

1. Ergonomic Keyboards Prevent Injuries

Workplace stress is not a laughing matter. 

If you make a living by repeatedly pressing letters, staying away from the uncomfortable keyboard is not a possibility.

You can work longer and earn more, but improper typing positions may reduce your working hours. 

Then you may also gain wrist pain, back pain, numb fingers, and sometimes a headache.

Get an ergonomic keyboard before these things happen to you since ergonomic keyboards are designed for long term usage in the first place and prevent injuries and diseases like carpal tunnel syndrome.

It’s the famous mantra, prevention is better than cure

Why wait for injuries to happen before acting? 

Be proactive. 

Scout for an ergonomic keyboard that will suit your requirement. 

You don’t have to buy an ergonomic keyboard right away.

See if some of your officemates are using one

Ask friends if they have an ergonomic keyboard that you can try. 

Better yet, find stores that offer testing before buy. 

You don’t want a peripheral that you cannot use later.

You might find ergonomic keyboard expensive but in reality, it’s not. 

It’ll save you money by preventing unnecessary visits to the doctor.

Maybe you can cope by now and still do the work better, but small daily injuries will add up and may leave you with chronic pain caused by diseases like carpal tunnel syndrome

You may require physical therapy and even surgery.

Also, ergonomic keyboards are designed to last longer in the first place. 

It has fewer button malfunctions, thus,  less need for replacement.

One of my early examples of an ergonomic keyboard is the split keyboard. 

As the term split implies, it’s separated into halves, left and right side that can be adjusted for your comfort. 

Adjust the ergonomic keyboard to match the natural position of your wrist, arms, and shoulder.

Yet another is the Dvorak keyboard layout

The home keys have the AOEUI HTNS instead of ASDF JKLl. 

This strategic position of the 70% most commonly used letters reduces muscle strain, increases typing speed, and improves accuracy.  

However, using an ergonomic keyboard layout means you have to teach your fingers all over again.

2. Ergonomic Keyboards Are Easy To Use

An ergonmic keyboard requires less hand movement, thus, preventing wrist strain and discomfort.

Eliminates any strain and discomfort because it keeps your wrists straight as you type. 

How do you type with a conventional keyboard? 

Often, you need to flex your wrist upward. 

If you do, you’re going to feel wrist pain after a while, and experience arm numbness because your arms are leaning on the desk.  

Use less effort and hand movement because your fingers are closer to the keys. 

You can do more if you don’t have to move your hand away frequently, just to reach some function keys or get the mouse and point it to something.

You can place your wrists and forearms in the middle and reach everything. 

You are more comfortable this way. 

Do more with less hand movement and then eventually do more tasks.

Unnecessary and frequent hand and wrist movements create small injuries that pile up: the hand, arm, and wrist strain and also tiredness. 

Such is easy to arrest but worst cases take time to heal. 

May require you a trip to the doctor and take months of leave without pay.

For this matter, I recommend the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard. 

About 70% of the common letters are within reach such AOEUI and HTNS. 

Try this and see your typing speed improve. 

Your fingers travel less and can press more buttons.

The standard QWERTY keyboard could be as good as using an ergonomic keyboard if you follow the standard typing rule. 

Rest your finger on specific keys. 

Right thumb on the space bar, right index finger on J, and left index finger on F.

Can you type fast with the two index fingers?  

Even if you do, you’re doing it wrong. 

Imagine how many times your wrists need to flex sideward, then retract and extend.  

Learn the typing basics first before getting an ergonomic keyboard.

3. Optimize Wrist-Bend Angle To Prevent Wrist Pain

Ergonomic keyboards are designed to put your hand in the optimal wrist-bend angle

Therefore, preventing wrist pain and the possibility of getting carpal tunnel syndrome.

Your hand should be in a natural handshake position. 

Not to twist it down like you are wiping some dirt off the table. 

Maybe it’s not important if you need to type a few words. 

Like registering in a hotel or basketball game. 

But if you need to type for hours, laying your wrist flat on the keyboard front is not a pleasant thing.

The Kinesis Advantage2 design relieves your pinky from heavy tasks. 

It claimed to provide maximum comfort and productivity.  

You may find it weird at first because the keyboard center is empty, the letters and number keys are on the sides. 

While common function keys are geared toward the middle and are operated by either thumb finger. 

Do you find it hard to reach the numbers and symbol keys located on upper keyboard rows? 

Or flexing your right wrist just to activate a few number keys? 

Kinesis Advantage2 series is right for you. 

It needs a bit of getting used to but you’ll get used to it in no time.

Kinesis also has the Freestyle Pro, a split type ergonomic keyboard that you can twist and turn. 

It’s a split keyboard that can be split in halves. 

Place it near each other or far apart. 

Tinker with the mechanism underneath each half to optimize it according to your comfortable wrist-bend angle.

4. Ergonomic Keyboards Are Quick Responding

Ergonomic keyboards are especially suited for sensitive fingers.

Do you need to pound the keys hard to make the character register? 

You have a hard time pressing because of finger sensitivity. 

Or, just annoyed that calluses are forming on your fingertips.  

Because you’re irritated, feeling pain, and annoyed, the keyboard you’re using is not ergonomic.

Often, buying an expensive but more reliable ergonomic keyboard will solve the issue. 

What can you expect by getting cheap run off the mill keyboards?  

Keyboards that have hard to press keys and that might only last for a month or two.

Get a soft-touch ergonomic keyboard that responds quickly to the slightest touch, also called a quiet keyboard with low profile keys.

Good examples of soft-touch keyboards are Jelly Comb MK09 Wireless Keyboard and Logitech Quiet Keyboard K740

You don’t have to get either of the two.

Rather, use them as baselines.

Consider a mechanical keyboard, it is more tactile but has a higher key height than a soft-touch keyboard. 

It has physical switches that are more responsive and requires less energy to register a character.

However, what is ergonomic to you might not be comfortable for others. 

Mechanical keyboards are rather noisy. 

Your officemates might find the noise bothersome.

Then choose a silent mechanical keyboard instead.

STRAFE RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard claimed to have 30% quieter switches than competitor brands. 

It’s indeed more silent without sacrificing the speed, soft feel, and responsiveness.

5. Encourage The Use Of Stronger Finger For Common Function Keys Instead Of The Weaker, Thumb Instead Of Pinkie

Do you find this thing hard and weird? 

You have to press the edge keys with the weakest finger. 

You have to use the pinkie to press down the shift, control, and enter keys.

Through practice, you’ll get used to it eventually. 

The weak pinky will get stronger to be able to reach and press far keys.

However, no matter how you get used to it, it’s not ergonomic. 

Reaching the keys like entering requires unnatural wrist and finger flex.

With Ergodox Ez and Kinesis, you’ll be learning a new typing strategy, to use the thumbs to register common function keys instead of the pinky.  

These keyboards feature thumb clusters that are strategically positioned beneath the left and right thumb. 

This feature distributes the workload from weaker fingers to the stronger.

Admit it, the most overused fingers are those little pinkies. 

Give them a more relaxed moment by getting an ergonomic keyboard.

These ergonomic keyboards are especially helpful if you are a new learner. 

At first, you’ll be tempted to use a ring finger to press shift and control keys

Because it’s too hard and awkward to press them with a pinky.

You’ll surely come back and tell me, your typing became more comfortable and speedier. 

Buy me a beer, plus an ergonomic keyboard of my choice.

6. Supports Healthy Postures: Correct Shoulder Alignment, Erect Body, And Rectify Arm Position

Using an ergonomic keyboard encourages healthy postures because typing ergonomically comes with standard typing poses, such as proper arms and shoulder alignment and erect body.

Wrong postures increase fatigue and cause pain.

Don’t place the ergonomic keyboard higher than your elbow. 

Requiring you to rest arms on the table and wrist on the keyboard pad, or the worst, flex your wrist up.

But don’t set the keyboard too low to the point that you need to curve your body. 

You should have an erect body while typing.

According to Medical News Today, wrong postures may lead to lower back pain and curve spine, and may also cause damage to the spine and tissues of the lumbar region.

If the ergonomic keyboard is positioned near to your body, it is likely to result in closed elbows, shrugged shoulders, and wrists flexed.

Adjust your seat height to solve the problem. 

If not enough, get a split type ergonomic keyboard and place each half in accordance to your shoulder width.

An ergonomic keyboard with an inverted V pattern may also alleviate the issue of shrugged shoulders.

Don’t place the ergonomic keyboard too far.

Reaching it needs additional energy to support the arm. 

You’ll get tired faster and can only do fewer things.

7. Relieves Discomfort Of The Wrist And Forearms

If you haven’t heeded my advice, your stubbornness will lead to repetitive strain injuries, RSI. 

According to Healthline, recurring tasks build up injuries to muscles, tendons, and nerves.  

Keyboard use is one of the common causes of RSI.

Started feeling pains already? 

Wrist pain and finger numbness that won’t go out for days and even weeks?  

Heed my advice and go get an ergonomic keyboard.

Working hours with the normal keyboard causes tightness and cramps in forearms, hands, and fingers. 

If you pay no attention, it will lead to pain, numbness, tingling, and burning sensation.

An ergonomic keyboard relieves the discomfort of the wrist and forearms, thus, alleviating RSI.

In addition to having a correct keyboard type, you also need to get your blood flowing. 

Exercise, set a short time to relax wrists, arms, and even the whole body.  

Rotate wrists for a bit, stretch arms, and jog for a minute. 

If it feels awkward, then, go get a cup of coffee or excuse yourself and go to the comfort room. 

A short exercise will do wonders.

If you don’t take action now, you will have to see your doctor for medical attention. 

I tell you, it won’t be a short trip. 

RSI takes years to manifest and it may take more than twice to recover.

8. Flows Naturally with Wrist and Forearm, And So Prevents You from Getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendinitis, And Peripheral Neuropathy

I guess I didn’t emphasize this matter hard enough. 

A minor wrist pain yesterday if neglected, will be compounded daily and might end up showing severe symptoms. 

I’ll go over it again.

An ergonomic keyboard flows naturally with wrist and forearm, and so prevents you from getting carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and peripheral neuropathy.

I’ll explain each ailment briefly.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a hand condition characterized by numbness, tingling, and weakness. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by long and consistent pressure on the median nerve that runs through the wrist. 

Pressure includes wrist angling upward, twisting, and resting on the ergonomic keyboard pad.  

It takes time to heal and in worst cases, carpal tunnel syndrome needs surgery.

Wrist tendinitis is wrist tendon inflammation with accompanying pain, stiffness, and warmth. 

It sounds simple but actually, tendons are tearing off bit by bit.

Peripheral neuropathy is neural network damage with symptoms of numbness and prickling of both feet and hands, which later spread to legs and arms. 

It’s often accompanied by burning pain and extreme sensitivity to touch.

If arm damage hasn’t scared you enough, then the inability to walk might.  

Indeed, improper typing postures can cause damage to the whole body.

I suggest you try any of the following ergonomic keyboards. 

Contoured keyboard, split keyboard, and low profile keyboard. 

Such keyboards flow naturally with the contour of the wrist and forearm.

Low profile ergonomic keyboards that have a sleek design keep the hand in a neutral position. 

In contrast with the normal keyboard, in which you need to bend your wrist up, and then you’re making it worse by using the normal keyboard feet.

For your benchmark, try Havit Low-Profile Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and Flat Contracted Keyboards.

Kinesis has both a split keyboard and contoured keyboards: the Advantage2, Freestyle Pro, and Freestyle2. 

They build the keyboard with ergonomic in mind. 

The keyboards have durable and responsive mechanical switches. 

Not only made to alleviate your injuries but also to increase your typing speed.

9. Ease Hand Joints, Therefore Mitigate Arthritis, Gout, And Fibromyalgia

Sometimes you have no choice but to use an ergonomic keyboard. 

Because it’s the only way for you to do your work more comfortably.

Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of hand joints, with pain and stiffness that worsen with age.

Gout is a food-related disease, but if you have it, typing will be hard.

Fibromyalgia is musculoskeletal pain that affects not only hands, but the whole body with fatigue, sleeplessness, memory gap, and mood swings.

If you have any of these ailments, then, consider getting an ergonomic keyboard that’s easy on hand joints. 

It alleviates painful inflammation, stiffness, swelling, and sensitivity of fingers.

An adaptive keyboard that has a reduced range of motion, low actuation force, and response quickly to the slightest touch.

Low profile keyboards are comfortable because it lay flat on the table. 

You don’t have to bend your wrist up just to type.

Soft-touch keyboards are best for arthritic hands because it’s responsive. 

Any key will register with a soft touch.

Flat contracted keyboards are flat and small. 

You don’t have to bend your wrist up and flex sideward.  

Also, your fingers don’t have to travel a distance.

Flat contracted keyboards if combined with soft-touch might be perfect for you. 

However, contracted keyboards might not be comfortable for people with large hands. 

If you have large hands, don’t ever try getting small keyboards.

You may still choose a mechanical keyboard but opt for designs with a low actuation force, or go for silent mechanical keyboards.

10. Ergonomic Keyboard Prevents Stress Due To Inability To Perform The Job Well

I’m not done yet. 

Your hands are connected to your body and so are connected with all the systems. 

It means hands problem if not taken care of at once will spread throughout. 

Yet another thing you might experience is stress, both physical and mental.

WebMD said you are suffering from stress if you’re experiencing the following symptoms:

  1. Insomnia
  2. Loss of sexual desire
  3. Frequent colds
  4. Upset stomach
  5. Headaches
  6. Low energy
  7. Chest pain and rapid heartbeat

It’s just a simple ergonomic keyboard and yet you are having so many problems.

If you are not comfortable with your typing posture, then you’re not going to carry out more tasks in the first place. 

Tasks will pile up and make you struggle.

A tilted keyboard will force your wrist to bend up, thus causing pain and carpal tunnel syndrome in the long run. 

How could you work if you can’t even type?

Wrong keyboard placement might result in an arched body, shrugged shoulder, and twisted wrist. 

Again, resulting in body pain and inability to work.

That inability to work and earn will lead to stress, which can be prevented by getting an ergonomic keyboard and practicing proper typing postures.

Extra Tips – How to Type The Ergonomic Way            

Getting an ergonomic keyboard is only a beginning. 

You should continue by learning extra tips on how to type the ergonomic way.

Cornwell University and the University of British Columbia said you should start typing the ergonomic way by placing the keyboard below the elbow and arms at a 90-degree angle.

Follow the next steps to type the ergonomic way:

  1. The keyboard should be below the elbow

An adjustable chair would often do the trick. 

If not enough, consider adjusting the table height.

  1. Position your elbow in a 90-110 degrees angle, which brings comfort to shoulder and forearms

Chair height and table height are the two key factors to achieve this feat.

  • Straighten your wrist

Flexing it either downward or upward harms the nerves and tendons.

  • Don’t be tempted to place your wrist on the desk because it will put pressure on the median nerve, cutting off blood circulation

Blood is the transporter of oxygen and nutrients, and it also carries waste materials to excretory systems.

  • Sometimes you’ll find yourself with hanging feet, trying to find the most comfortable typing position

If you do, find a platform to rest your fit on.

Your feet will start to feel numb if you don’t.

  • The keyboard wrist pad is good, but use it only to relax the palms for a bit
  • Use the laptop keyboard only when necessary because it’s designed for portability and not for hand comfort

Use an external ergonomic keyboard instead.

  • Always keep your back and neck straight
  • Try using another keyboard layout, the Dvorak

Final Thoughts

New ergonomic keyboard design and key layout mean learning a new typing strategy.

Go for an ergonomic keyboard even though the look and the feel seem awkward at first.

Keyboards are a worthwhile investment because of the ergonomic keyboard benefits.

Have proven designs for comfort so you will become more productive and suffer from fewer injuries.

An ergonomic keyboard is pricier but reliable, responsive, and doesn’t need frequent replacement.

The brain creates ideas and the hands put good thoughts into action.

So take care of your hands by using an ergonomic keyboard and typing ergonomically.

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