Should You Be Using A Wrist Rest For Typing?

Computers are now widely used in the workplace, as well as at home. Not long after they became part of everyday life, people began to notice new issues. In many cases, those problems were related to wrist pain and posture. Today, we have the wrist rest to resolve this issue.

Ergonomics also played a critical role in how we use computers. As defined by Merriam-Webster, ergonomics is the practice of designing items and spaces for people to use in the safest and most efficient way possible. Products like wrist rests, standing desks, angled keyboards, and back supports are all examples of ergonomics in the office. Whether it's attached to the keyboard or added on as an accessory, a wrist rest is supposed to protect a typist's wrists from strain and fatigue.

Debate and uncertainty continue to surround the wrist rest. Some people insist that they should be on every keyboard, while others advise against them, citing possible negative effects. Unpacking the argument doesn't give a definitive answer, but it makes it easier to make the right choice for your specific needs.

The answer varies from person to person

Wrist rests aren't the sort of thing people study in-depth, but they are often examined as part of a larger topic. In the case of Harvard's research, that topic is repetitive strain injury, also known as RSI. 

The researchers' suggestion, as surprising as it may seem, is to skip the wrist rest and instead opt for a keyboard that tips downward. This puts the wrists in a neutral position, meaning the wrist is neither tipped up nor down. Additionally, it prevents putting pressure on the bottom of the wrist. As the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety explains, this is the main issue with wrist rests. 

Using them for an extended period of time can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, stemming from the pressure applied to the inside of the wrist. Going without one, however, can put the wrists at an odd angle and trigger RSI. Ultimately, the choice of whether or not to use a wrist rest depends on your computer setup and specific concerns.