Closeup woman holding her hand pain from using computer long time. Office syndrome concept.

Typing pain isn’t new, but it can be debilitating.

If you’ve experienced hand, wrist, or shoulder pain while working your office job, it’s possible that poor typing habits and an unsuitable keyboard are to blame. Left untreated, typing pain can increase your stress levels, make it harder to recover, and reduce workplace productivity.

This guide goes over whether ergonomic keyboards can help with pain in your joints.

Read on to learn what an ergonomic keyboard is, the repetitive strain injuries that can result from typing, and how an ergonomic keyboard can alleviate pain and discomfort for a more comfortable, productive workspace.

What is an ergonomic keyboard?

Can ergonomic keyboards help with pain?An ergonomic keyboard is designed to offer a natural typing position to reduce pain and discomfort associated with typing.

It differs from the usual traditional office keyboard in a few ways. For starters, an ergonomic keyboard will always be adjustable. This means that you can customize the angle to your liking. The keyboard can be used flat when starting, and then splayed horizontally and tilted vertically as you start getting more comfortable with the layout. Keys are often easier to press, and tension is released as the keyboard is adjusted to your optimal position.

Traditional flat keyboards can cause pain, discomfort, and repetitive strain injuries (RSI) over time. Next, we’ll explain RSI in more detail.

Understanding typing-related Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Repetitive strain injuries happen when you repeat the same actions over and over again, often with an improper posture or technique. Over time, this can cause inflammation in the tissues of your muscles, joints, and ligaments. If you don’t give them adequate time to recover, they become damaged.

Typing can eventually cause problems in the hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders. A study showed that 60% of U.S. office workers experienced wrist pain.

With typing-related RSI, you might experience symptoms such as:

  • Swelling
  • Aches and pains
  • Discomfort
  • Reduced mobility
  • Cramps
  • Tingling
  • Loss of strength

A common form of RSI associated with typing is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

This occurs when the nerve in your wrist gets compressed or damaged from a bad typing posture and overuse of a bad keyboard and workspace.

The pain and discomfort it causes can affect your productivity, adding to work related stress, which then can delay the healing process.

Next, you’ll learn what common habits and problems with typing can cause lasting pain.

What causes pain while typing?

It’s important to understand why you might be experiencing pain as you type. Often it’s due to bad habits, poor posture, or a workspace that isn’t ergonomic.

Using a laptop

Laptops are convenient and portable, but they’re not designed for a comfortable typing experience. If you use a laptop for work, the posture you sit at and the flat profile of the keys can cause discomfort.

If you sit with the laptop on your lap, the monitor is usually too low for a comfortable sitting position. This causes you to push your neck forward to see the monitor while typing. This kind of posture restricts your upper body.

The flat profile of the laptop keys can squash your shoulders together and position your hands at an uncomfortable angle, causing strain.

Using a traditional keyboard

Just like with using a flat laptop keyboard, a traditional office keyboard doesn’t support your hands and wrists in an optimal position. Instead, you twist your hands inward at the wrist, causing strain on the joints.

Using wrist rests incorrectly

Many people use cushioned wrist rests with their keyboard. Did you know that you’re not supposed to rest your arms while typing? Doing so pushes on the nerves in your wrists and can lead to injury over time.

Improper desk height

We type for hours on end, often in the same position. If your desk is positioned too high for your arms to rest comfortably, you may end up straining your wrists and pushing your arms against the surface, causing discomfort. Too low, and you may put strain on your shoulders while typing.

How ergonomic keyboards can help alleviate pain

A woman helping his wrist pain with an ergonomic keyboardIf you’re still asking yourself “will an ergonomic keyboard help my pain?”, then you’ll be pleased to know choosing the right keyboard can help relieve and even reverse pain and discomfort from typing.

Adjustable angle

Ergonomic keyboards are designed to hold your hands and wrists in a more natural position so that when you type, you are putting minimal strain on your muscles, nerves, and joints.

Instead of the flat profile of a traditional keyboard, an ergonomic keyboard adjusts to help support a comfortable angle for your hands, wrists, and forearms. You get to choose the angle depending on what feels comfortable to you!

The adjustable nature of a Goldtouch keyboard also allows you to fully customize the vertical and horizontal position to match your body type. You can ‘tent’ and ‘splay’ the position of the keyboard’s two halves to release the pressure on your arms as you type.

Soft touch keys

The keys on an ergonomic keyboard are often easier to press, putting less strain on your fingers as you type. You can choose flat keys that mimic a laptop or larger keycaps with a domed shape depending on your preference.

Now you’re familiar with an ergonomic keyboard’s features and how it can help minimize typing pain, here are some tips on how to use it correctly in your workspace.

Tips for using ergonomic keyboards effectively

Correct your posture

Having a good posture while typing plays a major role in reducing pain. You’ll want to make sure that your desk is at an appropriate height so that your forearms lay parallel to the desktop with your elbows at around 90 degrees. Make sure that while you type, you hover your arms and avoid pushing your elbows into the desk’s surface or armrests of your office chair.

If you find yourself slouching as you type, sit up with your shoulders stacked above your hips and your chin downward. Your eyes should be in line with the top of your monitor. If not, you might need to adjust your chair’s height, or put your monitors on stands to correct their position.

Use wrist rests correctly

Earlier we mentioned that many people use wrist rests incorrectly. Their soft padded surface is designed to rest your wrists between typing, not as you type. Hovering your wrists above your keyboard makes sure that you can reach keys with ease and avoid stretching your fingers at unnatural angles.

Avoid laptop work

A man using a standing desk and an ergonomic keyboard to ease his wrist painLaptops are not designed for comfortable typing. If you have to use one, make sure you at least use a laptop stand to bring the height of the laptop’s monitor closer to your eye level. Avoid putting it on your lap if possible. Hunching over a laptop causes neck and back pain, breathing difficulties, and headaches.

Using a laptop at your desk? Try connecting an external ergonomic keyboard to make your typing posture more natural.

Take breaks

Even with ergonomic keyboards and mice, no one should sit at their desk for hours on end. Pain can still stem from holding your body in the same position for extended periods of time (like typing) so make sure to take regular breaks from your workspace.

It can help to get up from your chair and walk around once an hour, to boost your circulation and rest your eyes. To combat any stiffness in your arms and shoulders, try some light stretches.

Adjust your keyboard gradually

If you’re new to an ergonomic keyboard, the change from a flat to an angled shape can feel strange! Over the course of a few days, you can gradually adjust the horizontal and vertical angles so it’s easier to get used to the new way of typing.

Should you invest in an ergonomic keyboard for pain relief?

Choosing an adjustable ergonomic keyboard can alleviate many of the aches and pains that come from using a traditional flat keyboard, including hand, wrist, and arm pain. If you do any kind of typing at work, investing in an ergonomic keyboard can make working more comfortable and boost your productivity.

To find the right ergonomic keyboard for you, check out the Goldtouch shop.