[Air-L] have I discovered a new disease?

danah boyd aoir.z3z at danah.org
Sat Jan 19 13:45:33 PST 2008

The palm rest is for when you're resting your palms when you're  
resting, not for resting your palms while typing.  Proper ergonomics  
actually dictate that you should never have your palms rested while  
typing.  The best way to check if you're being ergonomically correct  
is to look at your joints.  From your shoulders to the tip segment of  
your fingers, each joint should be successively lower.  In other  
words, your wrists should not be higher from the ground than your  
elbows and your knuckles shouldn't be higher up than your wrists.   
This is why proper ergonomics requires keyboard rests (or true laptops  
with external monitors) cuz your segments should each be going down  
and your eyes should be seeing the monitor at 1/3 down the screen.

I'm sure you're not the only one who spends 10+ hours a day on the  
computer, but you're damn lucky to not have carpal tunnel issues if  
you are indeed resting your wrists that way.  Having dealt with CTS  
for 14 years, I don't wish it on anyone, so I'd encourage you (and  
your students) to look into structuring their typing in an ergonomic  
way.  Then, it doesn't matter how rough the palm rest is.  <grin>



On Jan 19, 2008, at 10:46 AM, Barry Wellman wrote:

> I've been writing more than my share of "papers", etc in the past  
> month.
> On my IBM Thinkpad T42.
> Recently I have noticed that both heels of my outer palms have become
> uncomfortably irritated -- the result I am sure of having them on the
> keyboard's palm rests for 10 hours at a time.
> The solution: I am trying to lift my wrists up so that only my fingers
> touch the keyboard. And I will be taking a break at the Social Network
> conference, this Tuesday thru Sunday.
> But I am wondering if this is a new phenomenon, or others on this list
> have experienced it. I do like Thinkpads for reliability and keyboard
> feel, but I notice that their palm rests are a bit rough.
> Barry Wellman
> _______________________________________________________________________
>  S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology, FRSC              NetLab Director
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