Computer keyboards, ergonomics and RSI

keyboard

Computer keyboards can add to the RSI dangers of computer users. This isn’t because the keyboards themselves aren’t directly creating a bad posture, it is because they force the mouse to be further away from the computer user which leads to an ergonomic problem. A good ergonomic position for the computer user’s arms and hands is essential to avoid RSI problems in the arms, wrists, shoulder or neck.

What is a good ergonomic position?

You are looking to avoid having any muscles in a tensed state for long periods. This is achieved by facing the PC screen and having your arms tucked by your sides as you type. Your arms should be bent with a right-angle at the elbow and forearms either directly forward or slightly towards each other.

So what’s the problem?

Nearly all keyboards include special keypads for applications, numbers, up/down/left/right keys etc. This was a good idea until the mouse was invented but now it means that all these extra keypads make the mouse position further away; this in turn means that your arm will be stretching to control the mouse.

Excuse my poor drawings below but they illustrate the problem…

Typical positions and postures

typical-keyboard-posturetypical-mouse-posture

 

You will see that in the images above that the user is always having to stretch to use their mouse. Many people unconsciously leave their hand on the mouse causing further problems as their muscles and tendons fatigue. Parts of your arm or upper back may feel quite solid as a result of muscular fatigue and in these circumstances nerves can become trapped causing pain.

Better position and posture

better-keyboard-position

You will immediately notice that the keyboard is shorter and the mouse is closer to the computer user. We still believe that the mouse needs to be a vertical ergonomic mouse and not a conventional one but you can see that this position has reduced the need to hold your arm in a tensed position for long periods.

Our recommendation is to select a good compact keyboard without numeric and function keypads. If you do need a number pad, consider having a separate one which can be pushed out of the way when you’re not using it – view short video below

Your wrist shouldn’t be bent when using a keyboard so look for feet at the back so that the back can be raised slightly if necessary.

Ergonomic Mouse & Keyboard Buying Guide

UK Suppliers UK Suppliers

Link to UK multiple purchase and B2B supplier

Note for Evoluent mice size see sizing tab above

  • DXT Ergonomic Precision Mouse - Wired

    DXT02 Ergonomic Mouse

    Less expensive, wired version. Easy to use, hold like a pen. Ambidextrous – for left/right-handed.

    View UK Supplier
  • DXT02W-ergonomic-vertical-wireless-mouse

    DXT02W Ergonomic Mouse

    Excellent! Easy to use, hold like a pen. Ambidextrous – for left/right-handed.

    View UK Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse L/H-Normal

    Left-handed normal-size version (consider DXT02 instead if you have small hands)

    View UK Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse R/H-Normal

    Right-handed version (their normal size is for larger hands)

    View UK Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse R/H-Small

    Right-handed small-hand version (normal size is for large hands)

    View UK Supplier
  • perixx-407

    Perixx Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock.

    View UK supplier
  • saturnus-mini-keyboard

    Sboard Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock

    View UK supplier
  • Anker 2.4G Wireless Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse

    Wireless Ergonomic Optical Mouse from Anker

    Not ideal. Better than ‘normal’ mouse. Only suitable for larger hands

    View UK Supplier
  • Perixx-wireless-ergonomic-optical-mouse

    Wireless Ergonomic Optical Mouse from Perixx

    Not ideal. Better than ‘normal’ mouse. Only suitable for larger hands

    View UK Supplier

USA Suppliers USA Supplier

Note for Evoluent mice size see sizing tab above

  • DXT02W-ergonomic-vertical-wireless-mouse

    DXT02W Ergonomic Mouse

    Excellent! Easy to use, hold like a pen. Ambidextrous – for left/right-handed.

    View USA Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse

    Select from left-hand, right-hand, small-hand, wired and wireless options

    View USA Supplier
  • perixx-407

    Perixx Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock.

    View USA supplier
  • saturnus-mini-keyboard

    Sboard Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock

    View USA supplier

Canadian Suppliers Canadian Supplier

Note for Evoluent mice size see sizing tab above

  • DXT02W-ergonomic-vertical-wireless-mouse

    DXT02W Ergonomic Mouse

    Excellent! Easy to use, hold like a pen. Ambidextrous – for left/right-handed.

    View Canadian Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse

    Select from left-hand, right-hand, small-hand, wired and wireless options

    View Canadian Supplier
  • perixx-407

    Perixx Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock

    View Canadian Supplier
  • saturnus-mini-keyboard

    Sboard Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock

    View Canadian Supplier

The Evoluent VerticalMouse 4 regular size models which are sometimes called 'large' (Right Wireless, Right Mac, Right Bluetooth, Right and Left) are for hands at least about 7 inches or 178 mm from the tip of the middle finger to the wrist crease. Hands shorter than 7 inches/178 mm may be more suitable for the VerticalMouse 4 Small.

Evoluent mice sizing guide

Why use a compact keyboard for good ergonomics?

Click play to view video explaining why a compact keyboard is better than a full size

 

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