You know what I noticed over the years? When it comes to Ergo (the hip version of Ergonomics), everyone immediately thinks posture or, chair, or even keyboard and mouse. Most people when they hear what I do professionally, immediately stand up tall and say something like, “Yeah, I know I need to improve my posture.”, or more often, “What keyboard do you recommend because my wrists get really sore?”
Well, after being in the trenches with you guys for over 15 years now, I’ve seen it all. Ergo chairs, split keyboards, every mouse you can possibly imagine, even a foot mouse and head mouse (no joke!) and that’s great. But there’s this one pesky little move that seems to be the norm out there, which is responsible for more damage to the wrists, forearms and elbows. And it’s called The Twist. Of the wrist that is.
I see it when you mouse and I see it when you keyboard. A seemingly innocent twisting of your wrists to either the right (ulnar deviation) or to the left (radial deviation). Maybe you are simply moving your cursor around from left to right or hitting one of the many outlier keys like enter, backspace, delete or tab. Maybe you plant your wrists on a wrist rest or mouse rest and the only way to move your mouse or reach outlier keys is to twist at the wrist. Or, even worse, maybe you learned touch typing (which we at PBE undo for a living), you know, assigning your fingers to home row and then through developing muscle memory, your assigned fingers reach for the keys. Touch typing literally instructs you to keep your fingers on home row and reach with your pinky to strike these outliers which ends up with your wrists all twisty and strained.
Well, I’m here to tell you to STOP! It’s that simple. I’ve seen more cases of tendonitis, carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve issues crop up because of that one little move. The great news is that there’s one little ergo secret that will have you moving freely and pain free.
Move your entire hand and arm over a few inches to the left or right to strike your outlier keys. And if you really want to be successful, let your middle or ring finger, or both, replace your pinkies. This allows you to move your hand, wrist and arm together and avoid the twist completely. Hooray!!!!
And when you mouse? Well, same thing. Get off your wrist rest, lie your mouse on something
flat like a mouse pad and move your whole hand and arm together, relax the grip on your mouse and voila, you’ll be on your way to being pain free and avoid future troubles.
Trust me on this one. It is worth the few days of this feeling funny and adopting a new and easier way to move. After all, who wants to work harder than they need to?
And do me a favor, please leave a comment below and tell me how it’s going. Is it easy for you? Hard? Any strategies that help you? Please share!