Can Ergonomic Keyboards Help Prevent Carpal Tunnel?

AdobeStock_25947613Millions of Americans spend a staggering amount of time typing on various devices. Whether for work or for entertainment and leisure, computers, tablets and smartphones are at the center of many people’s lives. And those who log long hours on the keyboard run a high risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The wrist has a small space through which nerves and tendons pass, known as the carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome describes any event that causes the passage to become smaller, which puts pressure on the nerves and can cause pain, weakness, tingling, burning or itching sensations in the fingers, hands and wrists. Though there are several diseases that can predispose a person to carpal tunnel syndrome, the most common cause is repetitive strain, which results in swelling and makes the carpal tunnel narrower. Individuals who make the same hand, wrist and forearm movements day in and day out are vulnerable to carpal tunnel syndrome. When lifestyle changes, physical therapy and medication don’t alleviate symptoms, carpal tunnel surgery may be necessary.

How Ergonomic Keyboards Can Help

Office workers and others who spend a lot of time on the computer may find relief in ergonomic keyboards. These customizable, adjustable keyboards are designed to support improved wrist posture, which reduces stress on the tendons and lowers the chance of repetitive strain. Using a split keyboard as well as decreasing keyboard thickness and providing support for the forearms can minimize unhealthy wrist extension and help to reduce the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Although ergonomic keyboards can’t fully prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, they are certainly a helpful tool for anyone who spends many hours each week on the computer.

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