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4/2/2014 - Ergonomic keyboards no better than standard


Roughly two months into the study, the vast majority of workers had little to no pain symptoms stemming from typing.

With many people going in for surgery due to the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome - a painful hand and wrist condition that's caused by repetitive motions like typing - many businessowners have adopted ergonomically designed keyboards in order to help their employees avoid this condition.

But, according to a new study on the utility of these special keyboards, they don't do much of anything from a standpoint of warding off typing-related injuries.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Nancy Baker, a professor from the University of Pittsburgh, recently performed a study that tracked approximately 80 individuals who had desk jobs and often typed while at work. Some of those being observed were given standard keyboards to use, while others were designed in an ergonomically friendly way.

Roughly two months into the study, the vast majority of workers had little to no pain symptoms stemming from typing. By the 10-week mark, everyone was asked to switch keyboards. After a similar period of time had passed by, no one reported feeling pain - including those using the standard model.

"I don't know why both keyboards worked as well as they did," Baker told the newspaper. She added that instead of referring to the keyboard that's supposed to be easier on the joints as "ergonomic," she prefers to call them "alternative," mainly because of it being misnamed. For something to truly be ergonomic, it has to be customized to the user specifically, which the alternative keyboards are not.

The full details of the report are due to be published in the periodical Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation.


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