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I Have Been Typing For Over 37 Years and My Wrists Haven’t Fallen Off Yet – Here’s Why

Luke Skywalker Prosthetic Hand
Don't need it yet. But maybe eventually.

Yes, I am that old. But my wrists are older. And that’s because regular typing on a normal sort of keyboard makes you twist your wrists to get them in position to hit the keys. Because you bend and flex and whatnot to type, one’s wrists can, at least internally, become truly FUBAR. Some people I know have had to have surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome…and I was afraid for a while there that I would need a bit of that myself. Here’s how I’ve gotten my wrists to quit being so damn angry all the time.

First thing I did is changed my gear. I had a really sweet gaming keyboard–so I could make use of all the macros and extra programmable keys–and I hated to give it up, but my wrists demanded it. (And it was hell to get me to give up my Trackpoint keyboard in order to get the macros.) So, anyway, I started looking at alternatives.

The first thing I looked at was a split vertical keyboard, like below:

Safetype Vertical Keyboard
This is what I see when I look at an Xbox controller.

I had seen testimonials online from people who use these (I think Scalzi does, if I remember correctly) and it makes sense. As the image implies, hold your hands out as though you’re about to shake two people’s hands at once. It’s a neutral position and nobody has to twist anything anywhere. But at $300 (its price at the time–it’s now about $215 on Amazon), I was hesitant to drop that much coin on something when I didn’t know if it would help my problem or not. So I found a happy medium.

Kinesis Freestyle 2 Keyboard

[ad#rightpost]I went with the Kinesis Freestyle Keyboard. Because $89 is better than $300 and I figured if I needed to, I could rig something to stand the keyboard halves on end. (Pictured is apparently the Freestyle 2…I’m not sure what the difference is, except that you have the option of getting a 20″ cord to separate the two halves rather than a 9″ cord. I find the 9″ is plenty for me, but to each their own kick.) However, once I got the keyboard and got used to it, I haven’t felt the need to tip the halves on their sides or anything. Granted, it took some getting used to because my typing style has my fingers going all over a regular keyboard. But once I adjusted, it was fine.

Also, the Kinesis people are awesome. I am hard on my keyboards, since I type a lot and I type with, shall we say, excessive force. I had typed so much that one half of the keyboard had keys that had started to not work anymore. I contacted them to make sure I had exhausted all the fixes I could try and they sent me a replacement board to go into the keyboard (the bit that registers the keystrokes–I’m sure there’s a technical term for it that I can’t be arsed to look up at the moment) free of charge. And here I was completely ready to buy another one. So they’ve got a customer for life. Or until I get that brain implant that lets me type with my mind. They’ll probably develop one of those too.

Evoluent Vertical Mouse 4

I did go vertical with my mouse, however. I use the Evoluent VerticalMouse 4. It’s pricey, yes, but it was the best of the bunch back when I went shopping. This took a lot of getting used to, especially since we should no longer be using mice or even trackpads but Trackpoints…but it’s sort of hard to have a Trackpoint in the middle of your keyboard when you, you know, don’t have a middle of the keyboard anymore. I don’t remember much of the specific difficulties I had while adjusting to it, but I have a feeling it was as humorous to watch as your Great Uncle Bob trying to play a Wii game using the remote for the first time.

That’s not everything, though. I apparently have this habit (on those rare occasions when I do sleep) to place the palm of my right hand against my face. At several weird angles. Which bends my wrist unnecessarily. I have no idea what I think I’m doing when this happens. Talking on the phone? Trying to support my oversized skull so it doesn’t roll away? Not a clue.

Futuro Night Wrist Support

To prevent this and actually give my right wrist a break (it is my mouse hand, after all), I will wear the Futuro Night Wrist Sleep Support as necessary. I don’t do this every night, but just when I feel that my wrist is going to start bitching at me.

However, when I’m keeping on top of exercising with kettlebells, I don’t actually need the wrist support.

'Bah. This puny kettlebell is no workout for these arms. I must find a school bus full of children to lift over my head.'

I use a 40 pounder for two-handed swings but it’s my single arm exercises that appear to help the most. I use a 25 pound kettlebell for these…and I basically pick the kettlebell off the floor, then take it straight up and over my head, arm extended. Then put it back down and repeat. YMMV, obviously, but this is the one that seems to have helped my long-suffering wrists the most.

Anyway, that’s what I do. And since I’ve taken these steps, my wrists no longer feel the need to threaten to secede from the Union. If anything works for you that’s not covered, mention them in the comments. And as always, I am not a doctor nor do I play one on the Internet. These health tips are void where prohibited, require six to eight weeks for delivery and are not available to be returned for a deposit in the state of Maine.


  • Interesting. I hope I will never need this advice but I am glad it’s there. Especially since the two of us seem to have the same “problem” when it comes to the question “how much force does one apply to a computer keyboard’s key?” answer: all of it.

  • I have learned to type form the Hoagie Carmichael Business school. This allows me the move my fingers from one side the the key board to the other like playing a piano.