If you experience wrist pain when typing on your computer, you may be interested in adding a wrist rest to your work setup. Wrist rests are raised pads of platforms that you can set your wrists on while you type. But it is still up for debate if wrist rests are effective in reducing pain and wrist-related injuries.
To get to the bottom of this, we’ve discussed the benefits and downsides of using a wrist rest so you can make the right decision.
Several benefits come with using a wrist rest. Not everyone feels that these products improve their typing experience, but these are the advantages people report when they use wrist rests.
When you type, your arms, wrists, and forearms should hover above the keyboard. This position is a non-issue when you first begin typing. But professions like writing, where people type endlessly for hours, your forearms can become sore and tired.
Your forearms will be doing most of the work when you hold your hands and arms above the desk and keyboard. Using a wrist rest can help relieve some of this stress and tension on your forearms, making it easier to type for extended periods.
Resting your wrists on a comfortable surface can help reduce arm and hand fatigue. Having to lift and hold up your arms and hands can make you surprisingly tired and make it difficult to type for long hours.
Like any support for your body, a wrist rest makes it easier to stay in the same position for hours. The less tired your arms and hands become, the more productive you will be able to be at your desk.
Typing for long hours can result in serious injuries such as pinched nerves and pulled muscles in your hand, wrists, or arms. Your wrists are the most at risk when typing because they are engaged the entire time. Later on in this article, we will further discuss the potential injuries you could suffer from excessive typing.
There are reasons you may not want to get a wrist rest for your keyboard. While many people love wrist rests, their benefits are still up for debate.
Having a surface, especially a hard plastic or wood, can add unnecessary pressure on your wrists and decrease proper blood circulation. Cutting off your blood circulation at your wrists will make it harder to type and make both your hands and forearms more tired. The added pressure can also contribute to muscle soreness.
When using a wrist rest, you can rely too much on your hands and wrists to reach the keys when you should be utilizing your entire arm. When you need to reach keys higher up or in the corner of your keyboard, you strain your wrists and fingers to reach it if you do not incorporate your entire arm.
Unfortunately, if you get into the habit of typing with your wrists fixed in one place, then you will be more susceptible to typing-related hand or wrist injuries. If you can hover over the keyboard and only use the rest as support when not actively typing, this will yield the best results and comfort.
Typing-Related Injuries or Conditions
These are the most common typing-related injuries that wrist rests could help prevent or remedy.
Carpal tunnel is a painful condition that occurs when the median nerve in your wrist is pinched. This pinch can happen when you use your wrist excessively or in an awkward position.
Arthritis is swelling, soreness, and tenderness in your joints. So you can experience arthritis in your wrists, hands, or fingers depending on what part you consistently use to type. Arthritis can be extremely debilitating, and hard to reduce pain.
RSI stands for repetitive strain injury. These injuries occur when you perform the same actions over and over again until they begin to cause immense stress and strain on one part of your body. In this case, the wrists and forearms will be the site of the RSI.
When choosing a wrist rest, there are many materials to pick from. We recommend choosing the softest material, as hard materials such as wood can cut off hand circulation.
Below are the types of wrist rests available right now:
- Memory Foam
The bottom line is that if you think you need a wrist rest for mild support, it could benefit you on long days on the keyboard. But if you allow your wrists or the bottom of your palms to rest on your desk or laptop, a wrist rest will likely make your comfort worse. Try not to rely on the rest too much.
In the end, all we can recommend is to try to type in moderation, take frequent breaks, and give a wrist rest a try if you’re so inclined.
If you suffer from wrist pain, you can add an ergonomic mouse pad to your desk setup. Ergonomic mouse pads are made with similar soft materials as keyboard rests, and they support your wrist when you use your mouse for extended periods. Ergonomic mouse pads are more beneficial than wrist rests and will be more comfortable than using a mouse.
Yes, for some people split keyboards can be a gamechanger. A split keyboard is a keyboard divided into two sides that can move independently. This product prevents us from unnaturally holding our forearms in and our hands forward awkwardly. Instead, you can keep your arms and elbows more relaxed and type at an angle.
Yes, an ergonomic mouse is one of the most effective products to relieve wrist and forearm pain or discomfort. Buy an ergonomic mouse over buying an ergonomic mouse pad, as they will be more effective. And you only need one or the other. Ergonomic computer mouses can be difficult to adjust to but are worth the effort.