Step 1: Arms and Wrist

When your hands are resting on the keyboard, your upper arms should be relaxed and near vertical at your sides. Your forearms should be bent at near right angles to your upper arms. 

If your elbows are resting on the armrests of your chair, make sure that it is not causing you to raise your shoulders from the relaxed position. If your upper arm is not vertical, adjust the distance between the chair and keyboard as required. If your forearm is not at a right angle to your upper arm, adjust the height of the keyboard, or chair, as required. 

Again, with your fingers resting on the keyboard, your wrist should be straight with your forearm. A wrist support is a good idea for short periods of rest. 

If your wrists are bent upward or downward, adjust the height and/or angle of the keyboard, or chair, as required. If your wrists are bent inward or outward, adjust your hand position to bring the wrists in-line with the forearm. 

  • When you pause, gently and slowly stretch your hands and arms. During longer breaks, get up, walk around, and gently stretch as much of your body as you can. Set yourself a schedule of rests, and make yourself take them. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your work and forget to take breaks. Use a timer or a reminder program to help you remember.
  • Keep your hands and arms warm. Let your hands and arms warm up before you start working, and gently stretch your hands before you start to work. Some people find it helpful to wear warm fingerless gloves.
  • Try to keep a “neutral” or straight wrist position. Use wrist rests and other supports, during pauses, to help you keep a comfortable wrist position.
  • Don’t use excessive force to hold any pointing device or to activate switches. Use the minimum force necessary to activate switches (of any type, on any device). Many people use far more force than is actually required. This is frequently the case for “point and drag” operations using a mouse. This additional force puts unnecessary strain on tendons, joints, and soft tissues. Habits are hard to break, so you may have to concentrate hard for a while to teach yourself to use minimum force.