One of the recurring questions in webinars given to large companies is whether or not a wrist rest is necessary when using a keyboard. The answer, as is often the case, is “it depends.” Let’s take a closer look at the details surrounding wrist rests, so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you need one.
Firstly, it’s important to understand that the name “wrist rest” is somewhat misleading. If your wrist rests on the support, it will cause that part of your arm to become immobile, which can cause problems when it comes to moving your hand in both the vertical and horizontal planes. This can increase your risk of developing tendinitis.
Therefore, a wrist rest should only be used if it’s to float on it, not rest on it. This means that you need to preserve the mobility of your elbow. If you are using a keyboard that is quite thick, like an older Cherry keyboard, then you can likely float on it without issue. However, if your keyboard is thin, like the Logitech K380, then a thick wrist rest can cause your wrists to descend, which increases pressure in the carpal tunnel.
Logitech has developed a solution to this problem: a very thin wrist rest. If you have a keyboard with a built-in wrist rest, like the Logitech K86a, the rule still applies – you need to glide on it and float on it.
So, do you need a wrist rest or not? The answer depends on your tendencies. If you can keep your wrists and carpal tunnels above the desk surface and avoid wrist extension and pressure from the desk on the carpal tunnel, then you don’t need a wrist rest. However, if you struggle to keep your wrists in the correct position, a wrist rest can help you keep your wrists straight. Just be sure not to create a fixed point.
In conclusion, a wrist rest can be part of the answer, but not the whole answer. It’s crucial to choose a wrist rest that is not thicker than your keyboard, to preserve the mobility of your elbow, and to ensure that you float on it rather than rest on it. By following these guidelines, you can make an informed decision about whether or not a wrist rest is right for you.