Are wrist supports good for typing?
Do you have a job that entails a lot of mouse usage or typing? Have you explored wrist support options? Our team of ergonomic professionals are frequently asked about wrist supports;
- Are wrist supports good for typing?
- Are wrist supports a worthwhile investment?
- Should I get a wrist support or an ergonomic mouse?
- Which wrist support should I get?
Workers who spend most of their day typing could feel stiffness or tingling in their wrists. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common problem for computer workers everywhere.
The first indication that you require wrist support for typing and using an ergonomic mouse is a carpal tunnel syndrome symptom. This is typically the outcome of chronic wrist injuries. Your wrist tissues steadily grow and press against the median nerve as a result of years of neglect, giving you a burning and tingling feeling.
If you utilise a wrist support when typing on a laptop, carpal tunnel syndrome is less likely to develop from typing. Working at a desk for years can result in wrist problems from pressure, strain, and decreased blood flow. Just observe where your wrists land when your fingers are positioned for typing.
Read on to discover whether wrist supports are as helpful as they are marketed to be at preventing wrist injuries when typing.
Are wrist supports helpful; are wrist supports good for typing?
Wrist and palm supports are helpful while using either a mouse or a keyboard. Having one enables you to maintain a neutral wrist position and supports the forearm, reducing the amount of stabilising activity needed from those muscles.
It is worth noting that a wrist support should not be used to support your actual wrist. The carpal tunnel and Guyon’s canal, which are the passageways via which nerves and tendons enter the hand, are not covered by any bony or muscular structures on the inner wrist.
A retinaculum, a thin, incredibly flexible strip of tissue, serves as the “roof” of these tunnels. Any pressure there puts the tendons and nerves under pressure. You are applying compressive stress to a region that can’t handle it if you lay your wrist directly on your wrist support.
A wrist support should be used to support the heel of the hand, which possesses strong metacarpal bones and thenar and hypothenar eminence muscles to guard the smaller, more delicate structures. To alleviate pressure-related issues as well, a cushioned wrist support is preferred to a solid one.
Do you need a wrist support for optimum ergonomics?
Without a wrist support, ergonomics can still be very good.
However, maintaining proper posture and stance will be simpler. Although it may not be necessary, a wrist support can help with proper ergonomic upper limb and shoulder positioning.
Consider keyboard wrist supports too
Have you considered a wrist support for a keyboard? Just in front of the keyboard, it passes beneath the wrist. The goal of this is to increase comfort and make it simpler to keep the right hand and wrist position. The benefits become apparent quickly when your hands are bent, which is not advised.
A wrist support’s main purpose is not to be used continuously throughout the day. It is designed to be used for tasks like scrolling or reading a webpage when you are not using the keyboard. Your wrist should remain flat across the keyboard while you are typing. You might not need a wrist support if you can keep it flat. It is when the wrist is bent that difficulties can be seen later on.
Do wrist supports prevent carpal tunnel syndrome?
There isn’t a simple yes or no response to whether wrist supports prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. In other words, there are benefits and drawbacks to utilising a wrist support. There may be some possible advantages if you’re employing the suitable wrist support at your workstation.
Why does carpal tunnel syndrome occur?
Chronic wrist injury is typically to blame for carpal tunnel syndrome. After years of neglect, the tissues in your wrists eventually swell up, becoming so inflamed that they press against your median nerve (as explained above), resulting in pain and tingling.
Typing does not, however, induce carpal tunnel syndrome. Years of pressure, strain, and restricted blood flow are the causes of wrist injuries that occur while working at a desk. Simply examine where your wrists land after positioning your fingers in a typing position. You may find that your entire upper body weight is resting solely on your wrists.
The obvious answer to this issue is a wrist support. Your wrists will be padded, which will reduce strain.
Wrist supports only ensure that your wrists are padded with rests. They don’t deal with the issues that cause ailments like carpal tunnel syndrome. You may continue to drive your wrists into a table while bending them. Although a wrist support may lower your risk of injury, a wrist support is not a foolproof fix.
There are potential risks associated with implementing wrist supports (and not using them) and a few alternative solutions:
- Without a wrist support, typing tasks could cause users’ wrists to bend at an unnecessary degree. The contact stress and irritation on tendons and tendon sheaths increase as the bend angle increases. This is especially true for typing jobs that need a lot of repetition or time. Without a wrist support, long stints of typing can put too much strain on a user’s wrist.
- While typing, resting the wrist or palm on a support may restrict wrist motion and exacerbate uncomfortable wrist postures.
- While typing, your hands should be free to move and lifted above the wrist/palm support. The pad should rest against the heel or the palm of your hand, not the wrist.
- Wrist supports should be a complementary aspect of an ergonomically designed computer workstation if they are used. If you need support assessing your workstation and ensuring that it is set up correctly reach out to our friendly team. email@example.com
- By changing other workstation elements so that the wrist can maintain an in-line, neutral posture, you can lessen wrist bending.
- Adjust the wrist support to the keyboard’s front edge’s width, height, and slope (keeping in mind that the goal is to keep wrist postures as straight as possible).
- To lessen pressure on the wrist, offer rounded, malleable, soft wrist supports.
Check out our Contour Unimouse here. The ErgoBead filling massages and supports the wrists and forearms in the correct ergonomic position while relieving muscle stress and tension. The mouldable support will work with any mouse, and is useful when combining with a vertical mouse to ease the pressure on the ulnar nerve. Cool, comfortable, freezable and washable.
Read on to discover whether wrist supports good for typing.
Mouse and keyboard best practices
Consider your workstation as a whole. The following keyboard and mouse best practices may assist you in setting up your office workstation:
- When using a keyboard, are your arms supported by chair arms or wrist supports such that they can bear weight?
- Does the location of the keyboard allow you to keep your elbows and upper arms close to your body (not outstretched past a 45-degree angle)?
- Can you maintain a close elbow and upper-arm position with the mouse so that your arm doesn’t stretch past a 45-degree angle?
- Is it possible to maintain a neutral wrist position with the forearms in a straight line and the hands not bent up or down or sideways toward the little finger on the keyboard?
- When using a mouse, is there a weight-bearing support for your arm (a chair arm or wrist support)?
- Is the mouse’s position so that your hand is straight across your forearm and not bent up or down or sideways toward your little finger?
Are wrist supports good for typing; should I invest in one?
A wrist support will not totally protect you from wrist problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, but compared to the edge of a desk, a soft piece of gel is far easier on your wrists. If you spend a lot of time at the computer, an affordable wrist support set can aid you when your posture suffers.
Additionally, you could find it beneficial to invest on an ergonomic keyboard and mouse because they’ll make you adopt better posture, and often have built in palm and wrist supports. Check out an earlier article; ‘Do ergonomic keyboards really work?’ here.
Recommendations from our Head of Ergonomics, Chris Barlow:
There are quite few factors to consider when choosing which wrist support to invest in. Firstly, consider the material. You can get ergonomic mouse pads with gel, beads or memory foam cushions. Some of the gel pads are cool to touch, some may even be sticky when not covered. One of the best materials for support is memory foam. The heat produced by your body causes the foam to take the contour of your wrist. The wrist support should support your weight and be soft enough to promote healthy blood flow. Blood compression can happen if you remain in one posture for an extended amount of time, even with a wrist support. By altering the height of your desk and chair, you can ensure that your wrists and elbows are supported.
Other considerations include pad size and mouse size. To make sure the mouse pad will fit your workspace and that you have adequate room to manoeuvre the mouse, check the mouse pad’s measurements. A wide wrist support is best in ensuring that your wrist does not fall too far off-centre.
Your mouse should fit comfortably in your hand. You may want to think about using a vertical mouse, which can be operated in a handshake position. The weight of angled mouse rests on the side of your hand as opposed to the inside of your wrist. When using a mouse, it shouldn’t be larger than the mouse pad or move the pad around with it.
Something else worth considering is your height. When using a computer, the wrists should remain in a neutral position to minimise wrist bending. If your arm is held too low, your wrist will be strained, increasing your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. On the other hand, your fingers, hands, and wrist get tired when your wrist support is too high.
To ensure optimal alignment, pick a wrist support that is between 0.5 and 1.2 inches deep. It is difficult to maintain a neutral position when the wrist is being supported at a height higher than that, which defeats the objective. Neither extremes of rigidity nor softness should exist. To stay firmly in place, some mousepads have a rubber base. Some mousepads stick to the table so firmly that moving them requires removing them.
Are wrist supports good for typing; our conclusion
Even though wrist problems from regular computer use may not be at the top of the list, you should nonetheless pay attention to them.
Aches and pains that develop depend on how you sit and your posture. For advice on posture and how to sit at your desk correctly check out an earlier blog of ours; ‘How to sit at your desk correctly: Our top tips’ here.
Maintain a neutral posture both when sitting and standing and remember it is important to keep your wrists straight while typing. This enables your hands, forearms, and wrist muscles and tendons to function correctly while remaining calm.
If you’re sitting down, keep your elbows close to your body and your arms and forearms at a 90 degree angle. For many individuals, the computer desk is simply too high or low. They can therefore feel the benefits right away when they adjust their posture and the keyboard’s position.
Without trying it out, you will never truly know if it is more comfortable or not. Purchasing it is good if it does help. The most crucial thing is that while using a computer all day, you maintain yourself as pain- and discomfort-free as you can.
View our range of wrist and arm supports here or visit our blog for all of our useful guidance on ergonomic equipment including our recommended products.
If you have an ergonomics question or would like to book a FREE consultation with one of our experts email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.