If you work in an office or have any job that has you seated in front of a computer for multiple hours a day, you probably know how important ergonomics can be, especially your posture and wrist position. Bad posture and lots of keyboard bashing can lead to muscle and tendon problems, or conditions that can greatly and permanently affect your overall well-being. For posture, there are quite a few things you can do on your own to prevent or slow down the negative effects, such as muscle strengthening and stretching. However, this is not as easy with wrist positioning, which is why many people opt for an ergonomic keyboard wrist support.
If you ever feel numbness in your hands or a tingling sensation in your fingers any time you’re at your workstation, then you might be at risk of developing conditions like carpal tunnel or tendonitis. Luckily, ergonomic wrist rests are affordable, easy to use and effective. Wrist rests are pretty straightforward products – a pad (or multiple), usually made from gel or memory foam that goes under your wrist. By investing in ergonomic keyboard wrist support you can avoid tension on your tendons and muscles by keeping your wrist in a proper position.
But even though these ergonomics devices are pretty straightforward, it’s important to find the right one. You can experience a lot of problems from not having a wrist rest, but you can also experience issues from a wrist rest that isn’t appropriately made, is prone to deflating or wearing out. These things can make the product counter-intuitive to your posture.
Ideally, you want the wrist rest to position your forearms and wrists in a manner that makes them move in unison with your fingers and hands, and aligns them to the keyboard so that no part of your body is forced to work independently. This prevents any obstructions that can cause restriction of movement in subtle ways. The material the wrist rest is made of will also impact your choice, as the wrong material can make it sweaty and dirty, and cause sores on your skin. These are all issues that can arise from having the wrong product. In order to make sure you get the right product, there are a few things you need to take into account.
As briefly aforementioned, ergonomic wrist rests are made of either gel or memory foam. Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages, so one may be better than the other depending on how you intend to use it and what your individual requirements are. For instance, gel is the ideal material for those who won’t be spending more than a few hours on the computer. Gel wrist supports are best suited for those of you who use gamer and mechanical keyboards, as they’re optimised for functionality and comfort. Some gel wrist supports come with special ventilation features that prevent over-warming.
Gel wrist rests are sturdy enough to be comfortable throughout the entire time you’re using your computer, but still soft enough to allow natural movement of your wrists when you’re typing. They’re also generally easier to clean, as they come with a soft plastic covering instead of fabric. This also helps with their durability and maintenance – all you have to do is wipe them clean to avoid wear and tear that can result from scrubbing. As with the majority of ergonomic keyboard wrist rest models, they run the entire length of the keyboard, making them ideal for position your fingers, hands and forearms properly.
Memory foam wrist rests, on the other hand, are arguably more comfortable than most gel wrist rests, as they mould to your wrist without losing sturdiness or shape. Additionally, they’re great at retaining body heat and improving circulation without causing chafing or sweating on the skin. If you’ll be spending more than a few hours on the computer at a time, then you’ll probably want a memory foam rest. These rests improve the ergonomics significantly, and you should look for a model with non-skid backing. Make sure you buy a quality memory foam wrist that’s made with a durable cover, otherwise, the material can wear thin and become holey.
Lastly, you’ll have to consider the height of the wrist rest. Generally, the height ranges around 2.5cm, which is the average height to keep your lower arm and wrist at a supported and straight angle. However, this is just a general rule of thumb, and you might need more or less elevation depending on your size and workstation. The highest point is typically right under your wrist where the wrist meets the palm, so in order to keep a straight line, the wrist support should be angled slightly downwards in the direction of where your fingers are supposed to lie.