Carpal Tunnel question (56k warning)

I just made a new keyboard tray since my keyboard wasn’t sitting well on the old one. I put it higher than before since my legs always hit the bottom of the tray. Now I can’t seem to get my chair height just right. So to minimize carpal tunnel are you supposed to have your keyboard tray above the height of your arms/elbow, level with that height, or below the height (see picture below for reference - see the arm rests)?

I don’t want to know anything about that box of Kleenex back there. Or what’s in the lockable drawer in the foreground.


Your desk area is a lot cleaner than I expected.

The hidden letters are “ankin” right?

Also, I’d put that chair up…

Hehe. Nope, I bring a lot of stuff up from my lungs. So I have kleenex in every room in our house.
Well, I think I figured out my issue. This chair’s seat is too low compared to the armrests. So my elbow area gets cramped up, which then extends down to my wrist. I hadn’t realized that since I’d switched chairs, my fore-arms had been “beside” my armrest and not “on” it. When I attached this keyboard holder, I forced ymself to use the armrests and my old carpal tunnle came back along with higher arm pain. I also prefer a slightly slouched position when gaming, so that makes the armrest height even worse. Right now my arm feels miserable though, and it took me all stinking day to attach this homemade keyboard tray to the supposedly “perfect height”. Ahh crap :(

…yes my office normally is a disaster. But I finally cleaned it up. Hope I can keep it this way for more than a week.

ok, so I just wanted to remove the arms off your chair… but you somehow ended up with a poster, a QT3 case sticker and a portal to another world… …

I want me one of them portals.

Yeah. You need a nutsak style captain’s chair.
“Helm, evasive maneuvers!”

A couple of thoughts, based completely on what works for me; YMMV, and IANAMD – if it really bugs you see a good sports therapist or the like (not a general practioner).

  • Don’t use the arm rests when you type, I’d take them off or set them really low.
  • The angle of your arms doesn’t matter so much. Just make sure that your your wrists are straight, so that your hands line up with your forearms.
  • I can’t tell if you already have an ergonomic slipt-keys keyboard, but if you don’t get one. Normal keyboards tend to make people bend their wrists outward, although you can unlearn this habit (e.g. for laptops).
  • Don’t wrest your wrists on anything when you type. Wrist pads, etc. are a bad idea. Take a look at how people play piano.
  • At times I’ve had good results but a half-inch to an inch thickness of books under the front edge of the keyboard, which helps avoid canding your wrists upward.
  • If your carpal kicks in, try some aspirin to reduce the swelling (presuming you’re old enough). Avoid things like Advil since you want to know if it hurts.
  • Adjust your chair so that your feet are flat on the floor, and you can comfortably sit up straight. If you find your desk doesn’t fit with this adjustment, get a new desk – seriously. Actually, I see you’ve got carpet under your chair, so if it’s off by just a bit you might get away with one of those plastic easy-clean/anti-static boards chair boards.

Hope this helps.

According to what I remember from ergo 101 (the little pamphlet I got when I started working at MS) you want your setup to be something like this:

  1. Chair at a height so that your feet are on the ground and your knees are bent at about 90 degrees.
  2. Keyboard at such a hight that your arms are bent 90 degrees at the elbow, your forearms should be paralell to your thighs. This means that in general your keyboard tray should be pretty low, like almost in your lap.
  3. The top of your screen should be level with your eyes when you look straight ahead.
  4. Monitor should be like 18"+ away from you.

Most armrests on chairs are going to screw with this, so get rid of 'em.

Thanks all. That pretty much sums up my problems. I instaled the keyboard too high, I now have to look “down” to my monitor, my feet can’t sit straight on the floor. I fucked up this “improvement majorly”. <sigh> I might have to fricking saw off these armrests. The left one ins’t too bad, but the right one intereferes with typing and mousing.

Though… I wonder if I can mount some kind of hinge to the armrest, so I can swivel it up and down?

Hey nutsak - nice photoshop job. I keep looking down at where my floor half expecting something to be there. :)