Your Questions, Our PRO Answers:

Wrist Rests

"Due to the nature my job I spend many hours typing and using the mouse. So does my colleague. I wonder if we [should use an] ergonomic mouse pad, those pads with an elevated wrist rest. I thought I would check with you first before buying it."

From our professional experience, here is what you should consider before buying wrist rests for yourself or your staff:

Wrist rests are not bad, per se, for keyboards so long as they are not used as a wrist anchoring point when typing. They can be used to drop the wrists on, in between typing, as an actual “rest”. Be cautious of the height of the wrist rest that it doesn’t create bad wrist posture – this can happen when wrist rests are taller than the keyboard (for example, many newer keyboards have a very slim profile (i.e. low height)).

It is rare that we recommend a wrist rest for the keyboard as a solution – we are often looking to adjust other things. If we just put a wrist rest at the workstation to fix wrist pain without looking at other root causes, we would call this a “band-aid” solution - in other words, not a proper fix.

For the mouse, we also do not recommend wrist rests as a solution. There are many reasons why:

  • For similar reasons to the keyboard that it can be a “band-aid” and not addressing the root cause of the discomfort.
  • A wrist rest also forces you to anchor your wrist when mousing. This is not great for mobility and you are then forced to generate all movement of the mouse from your wrist, so it can actually create increased strain to the wrist.
  • Ideal mousing posture should see movement generated from the shoulder. This is easier to do once the mouse is positioned at the right height so your shoulder can work in neutral/relaxed postures.

We would strongly suggest that an ergonomic assessment be done prior to purchasing a wrist rest as a solution for someone experiencing discomfort. It is likely there could be something else going on such as workstation height, layout, chair height, the employee's seated postures, etc.

Our PRO answer?

A wrist rest is not a proper solution for discomfort if other issues have not yet been addressed or ruled out. Seek a professional office ergonomic assessment so that you can discover the root cause of your employees' pain before it's too late.

Or, consider a Virtual Office Ergonomic Assessment.

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