Many people don’t realize that the size of their computer keyboard can cause significant ergonomic issues resulting in shoulder and arm pain. But there’s a surprisingly easy way to choose the right keyboard for your desktop.
hold it against your chest
You’re shopping for a new keyboard and you’re curious about how comfortable it will be in the long run. Hold it against your chest.
Not really. This isn’t some grade-school prank where you hold a keyboard to your chest and get punched while someone yells something mildly insulting. It is a very simple way to compare the size of the keyboard with the width of the shoulders.
In fact, this is how I cured my shoulder pain with a new keyboard without even realizing the relationship between the keyboard and my body. The problem I had was mechanically simple, although it took me a while to figure it out. My keyboard was too wide, so I had to tilt my arm at a more severe angle to use the mouse. I did it for years and millions of people with oversized keyboards still do it.
My shoulder pain disappeared almost instantly when I replaced my huge 100% full-size keyboard with a more compact 80% tenkeyless keyboard. But it wasn’t until I was on a conference call with some of my fellow writers here at How-To Geek, who were talking about that topic and how to choose the right keyboard, that I realized there was a ratio at play.
My old pain-inducing keyboard was wide enough that when I held it against my chest, it covered my entire chest and a good chunk of the front of my arms. No wonder I always had to swing my arm at a weird angle to use the mouse, the keyboard was almost as wide as I was. But the new tenkeyless keyboard that solved my shoulder pain? It fits perfectly in my arms.
So if you’re struggling with shoulder and arm pain related to using your computer, before you run out and buy a premium “ergonomic” keyboard (many of which are absolutely massive) or dabble in really specialized layouts like split keyboards , consider simply upgrading to a keyboard that literally flushes with your body.