Are you experiencing pain in your wrist, fingers, elbows, or arms after long hours of typing or gaming at your computer? Are you starting to wonder if you have a good arm and wrist posture while working at your desk? Do you want to know the best keyboard position for typing?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to discuss the benefits of a correctly placed keyboard, common mistakes, and how to fix them. We’ll be breaking it down in detail, one item at a time.
This should give you the information you need to keep on working or playing your favorite games while giving you tools and tips for minimizing pain or even avoiding it altogether.
Best Keyboard Position for Typing
Should I Rest My Wrists While Typing?
One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to proper keyboard posture is whether you should rest your wrists down on your table or desk while typing.
While resting your wrists on your desk while typing may feel like the natural thing to do, the problem with this position is that it puts stress on your wrists and the muscles inside your arms as you type.
It may seem like dropping your wrists can make your arms relax, since they aren’t required for operating a keyboard.
Unfortunately, this has the potential to contribute to future medical issues, including carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow.
One method that is used to support your wrist is a wrist rest. Although a wrist rest is designed to offer support, it is best used only for a break from typing and should be avoided while typing actively.
Ideally, your wrist should be in a neutral or straight position. You can achieve this by hovering your hands over the keyboard, keeping your forearms in line with your wrists.
When you feel the need to take a break, you can rest your hands on your lap, wrist rest, or armrests. It is the act of typing, when combined with an upward-facing or kinked position in your wrists, that is the most likely to cause pain or injury.
Should I Tilt My Keyboard?
You’ve probably noticed that many keyboards have feet on the back. Like me, you may have started typing with your feet extended sometime in the past, believing that they must be there to improve your typing experience.
As it turns out, the reason your keyboard has feet is to allow you to better see the keys. The problem with this is that putting your keyboard at an incline creates even more strain on your wrists and arms, making it harder to hold them in proper posture.
It is best to keep your keyboard flat on your desk or keyboard tray. This will make it easy to keep your wrists in a natural and unstrained neutral position.
You could, however, experiment by using your keyboard with a negative tilt or decline. In this position, the bottom of the keyboard will be lifted above the top of the keyboard. This creates an inverse position of the slant provided by most keyboard feet.
You can do this by placing a small rolled-up towel or another appropriately sized semi-soft object to prop up the bottom of your keyboard. Better yet, there are also trays specially designed to create a negative keyboard tilt.
Remember that keeping your wrists in a neutral position is the goal. You don’t want your keyboard positioned in such a way that makes you bend or arch your wrists.
If experimenting with a negative tilt position, always listen to your body in case you begin to experience any wrist, hand, or elbow discomfort.
If in doubt, we suggest you keep it simple and lay your keyboard flat.
Should My Elbows Be On My Desk When Typing?
It is never a good idea to have your elbows on a desk while typing for an extended period. This type of extended posture will make it hard, if not impossible, to keep your wrists in a safe neutral position while typing.
Over time, typing with your elbows resting on your desk can be the cause of regular pain or even longer-term injury.
Let your elbows hang relaxed by your sides while typing. It is best to keep them at roughly a 90-degree angle so that your wrists can reach the keyboard while remaining straight.
For this reason, position your keyboard next to the edge of your desk or keyboard tray. Allow your arms and shoulders to remain relaxed while typing, and do your best to release any additional unnecessary tension held in your upper shoulders, also known as your trapezius and deltoid muscles.
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Proper Posture for Using a Keyboard
Finding the best keyboard position for typing is all about putting the keyboard in an easy-to-reach place while maintaining a proper typing posture.
If you’re like me, then your overall goal when considering keyboard position is to minimize pain and discomfort while maximizing focus and health.
That may seem like a tall order for a seemingly minor and minimally physical task, but if you spend long periods of time sitting and typing, the cumulative effects of posture certainly add up.
You’ll probably agree that it’s easier to be in a focused and relaxed state of mind if you aren’t experiencing discomfort or feeling the need to constantly adjust your position, and we feel confident assuming you don’t want to end up with tennis elbow because of your typing habits.
Feet and Knees
Ensure your feet aren’t extended far out in front of you or tucked back underneath your chair. Instead, keep them flat on the ground in front of you. You can also use a footrest if necessary due to your chair and desk height.
Keep your knees level with your hips or lower–at a roughly 90-degree angle. Make sure your chair isn’t pressing into the back of your knees.
Back and Head
Sit with a straight back rather than being slouched or leaning to one side. Keep your monitor at eye level and your neck straight so that you don’t have to tilt your head either forward or backward during use.
Shoulders, Elbows, Hands, and Wrists
Keep your fingers arched and your hand in front of you, forming a more or less straight line from your elbow, rather than being angled to one side of the keyboard.
Your wrists should be off the desk in a neutral position avoiding being crimped or angled. Your elbows should remain relaxed by your sides at approximately a 90-degree bend.
Avoid tightening your shoulders or raising them toward your ears, and instead, let them hang loosely and without tension.
Here are the key elements of proper posture while using a keyboard.
Ergonomic Keyboard Options
Now that we’ve discussed the best keyboard positions and postures for typing, we’d like to mention another essential ingredient of your keyboard-using experience, and that is the keyboard itself.
Ergonomic keyboards are designed to reduce fatigue and muscle strain. Although they come in many shapes and styles, they tend to be either partially or completely split into two sections.
This means each side of the keyboard can more easily be placed in a safe and comfortable position for your wrist and hand, avoiding the bent wrist that is common with a normal single-piece keyboard.
Similarly, partially split contoured keyboards are designed to facilitate your hand typing in a natural, unstrained, and aligned position.
Getting an ergonomic keyboard is worth considering as a preventative measure against pain and injury. It is a much cheaper investment than other parts of your workstation setup, such as a high-quality desk or office chair, making it an attractive starting point for those working from home, or gaming, on a budget.
As with any product like this, your individual body’s needs and your personal preferences are an important part of the equation, and we recommend trying out a few ergonomic keyboards and checking out some reviews before making a purchase.
That being said, keep in mind that they might seem odd or take some getting used to if it’s your first time using one.
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The way you position your keyboard for typing can affect your long-term health and comfort, especially if you spend a lot of time on your keyboard.
When positioning your keyboard, the most important thing to remember is to set it up so that you can keep your wrists in a straight neutral position while typing. Generally, this means keeping your keyboard flat and toward the edge of your desk or keyboard tray.
Practice good typing posture and consider getting an ergonomic keyboard to reduce the strain of keyboard use on your arms and wrists.
All of this will help you to reduce any potential pain or injury so that it won’t stand in the way of you working and playing on your own terms.