Good question! Many people have wrist rests provided automatically when they start working in an office environment. And despite so many people using wrist rests I can honestly say, that I have never been call in to an office where the staff actually knew how to use their wrist rests in 20 years!
Of course you might say well what is there to know about using a wrist rest. You rest your wrists on them. Seems sensible but actually thats wrong.
The most important aspect of wrist rests is that they are NOT designed for resting on while keying and using your mouse. What are they for then? They are designed for resting your wrists on when you not keying or using the mouse. In other words they are not for use while working but only while resting.
Why is that you ask? Well they can cause pressure on the soft part of the wrists where there are nerves and other sensitive structures. In fact studies have shown they can increase the pressure in the wrist and lead to symptoms such as pins and needs. So if you have carpal tunnel syndrome or similar symptoms they are probably not a good idea.
If you are going to use a wrist rest
- Use a flatter and softer one that supports a larger area of your hands/wrists
- Use during breaks in keying and mouse work. Don’t rest on a wrist rest and work.
- Try rest the base of the hand on the wrist rest rather than the softer more susceptible lower part of the forearm.
So is there any reason to use a wrist rest.
Not many in my view but there is some evidence to suggest that using a wrist rest when the keyboard is positioned correctly can help to keep wrist joints in a more comfortable position.
Are wrist rests good or bad?
Well to be honest they can be either. The down side to wrist rests are
• They take up valuable space directly in front of you
• They raise the height at which you work
• They can put direct pressure on the soft part of the wrists.
For more information on
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome see the HSE