If you’re like me, your desk is always a disaster area of papers and pens. And despite the neat appearance of my desk at work, it’s even worse at home! I’m never quite sure where to put things when I’m done with them or what to do about the mess on top of my desk.
The first thing I try is moving some items around so that they are in less prominent places (e.g., hiding the pen near my keyboard instead of sticking out). But this only goes so far; eventually, everything ends up back in its original place because something new has taken over that space.
I’ve also considered getting a stand-up desk (which would be great for anyone who spends long hours sitting down at their computer) but I’m not quite ready to make that kind of commitment yet. So, what else can I do?
I think I’ve finally found the answer: a wrist rest for my mouse pad and keyboard! It’s an easy addition and should keep me from getting RSI (repetitive stress injury).
Not so fast! There’s actually some debate about whether or not wrist rests are helpful or not. Read on to learn more about wrist rests and how they might affect your health at work.
What is a Wrist Wrest?
A wrist wrest is a pad or cushion that you can use on either your mouse, keyboard or both. They are usually made of special materials like gel and foam to keep your wrists in a more comfortable position throughout the day.
Benefits of Using a Wrist Rest
They might look like an unassuming and unnecessary addition but wrist rests actually serve a few very important functions:
Preventing Damage to Your Wrist
You might not realize it but prolonged stretches without breaks could result in RSI (repetitive stress injury). This happens because of how we grip our mice and keyboards, which puts pressure on our hands and leads to pain. A good wrist rest will provide support, so your muscles don’t have to work as hard when you type or click.
Make Your Mouse and Keyboard Easier to Use
With a wrist rest, it is much easier to use your mouse and keyboard because you don’t have to grip as tightly (which can lead to fatigue). You also won’t have to twist your wrists as often. This makes the overall experience more comfortable and less strenuous on your muscles.
Make Your Desk Look Nicer
While we might spend hours at our desk working, we rarely think about how our office equipment affects our workspace (or whether or not it looks nice).
A wrist rest provides a small but effective way of solving this problem because it adds that extra layer of comfort—and visual appeal—to your desk setup.
Other Things to Consider
However, there are some things you should know about using a wrist rest:
Is a Wrist Rest Right for You?
While many people love their wrist wrests, others – like myself – don’t think they’re necessary.
In fact, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to prove that a wrist rest is beneficial or harmful. You should use your best judgment when deciding whether or not you should add it to your office setup. Be careful if you have any pre-existing conditions that affect your wrists because a wrist rest might make them worse!
Another thing to consider is how much time you spend using a mouse and keyboard each day. If it’s more than 8 hours, then a steady break from the monitor and hands might be helpful. But frequent breaks aren’t necessary if you only work for a few hours at a time.
Effects on Your Wrist Position
A wrist rest might not be the ideal solution because it could cause your hands to move too high up and out of proper alignment with your forearm. While this isn’t dangerous, you should still try to maintain good posture while using your computer so that your wrists don’t get fatigued or stiff.
Needs Regular Cleaning
Like anything else in the workplace, your wrist rest needs to be cleaned regularly to keep it clean and sanitary. Make sure you use non-abrasive cleaners and avoid getting moisture on the pad itself!
Know When It’s Time for a Replacement
Since wrist rests are typically made of foam, gel or similar material, they will eventually become old and worn down after years of use. You might feel uncomfortable using it at this point because you won’t have the support you need to keep your wrists in a neutral position while working. Fortunately, wrist rests are inexpensive so be sure to get a new one when the time comes!
In short, a wrist rest can provide extra support for your wrists while using a mouse and keyboard. It makes it easier to grip your desk equipment and keeps tension off of your hands and muscles.
But whether or not you should add a wrist rest is up to you—it’s going to depend on how much time you spend at work each day and how expensive a replacement would be if anything happened to it.