Workspace Ergonomics for Hypermobility: Part 22017-05-312018-05-01https://www.hypermobilityconnect.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/new-logo-hc2017.pngHypermobility Connecthttps://www.hypermobilityconnect.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/workspace-ergonomics-for-hypermobility-p2-f.jpg200px200px
The previous post in this series Workspace Ergonomics for Hypermobility: Part 1 talked about the posture we should be assuming when we’re sitting at a desk, in particular when we use a computer. This week we want to focus on some specific suggestions of places to start looking for things which might help you set up your workspace for success.
Ergonomic devices are difficult to recommend for people because the very nature of ergonomics means that it needs to be the best fit for YOUR body. What works for me, won’t necessarily work for you and vice versa. I will give you a couple of options to look at to start your search, but you’re going to have to do some research and some trials to work out what is best for you. If you have a store near you that sells ergonomic computer accessories, I would recommend getting yourself in there and playing. You’re not going to know without playing. There are some online stores that have free shipping and returns if you need to do it that way.
Here are some ideas to help you start your search.
If you’re using a trackpad on a laptop, you may want to do yourself a massive favour and buy a good mouse. Preferably a wireless one, because they don’t hog your USB ports.
Lots of people have issues with the hand/wrist angle required to use a traditional mouse. By traditional, I mean the typical PC mouse that is flat with 2 buttons and scrolling wheel in the middle. The Mac Mouse also fits into this group because it is flat (smooth & lovely, but flat!) and require full forearm pronation.
There are a range of mice (mice? mouses? who knows, lets go with mice) available for PC these days, from Trackballs to Rocksticks. There are sculpted mice, oyster mice, vertical & neutral mice. There are left handed mice, travel mice… and trackpads built into wrist pads. There is even a pencil-like mouse now!
The Mac ergonomic mouse market is getting far more impressive than what it used to be! A lot of the PC ones are now claiming to be compatible with Mac.
HIGH-END: The Oyster Mouse ($264) (see picture) which is repositionable to 5 different angles of supination/pronation. You may be able to snag one on Amazon for a bit cheaper, just remember you have to pay postage! (Mac compatibility – unknown)
LOWER-END: The EZ Vertical Mouse by Minicute ($128.70) is one to try (Mac compatibility- unknown)
MAC MARKET: I would try the Evoluent Vertical Mouse 4 ($109.95)
Or you can find others here or Google “ergonomic mouse for Mac”
Things to think about when choosing your mouse:
Is it comfortable, not only for my hand but my elbow, shoulder and neck?
Am I comfortable with the accuracy/control I have of the cursor?
Is it wireless or wired? Do I have enough USB ports available for a wired mouse?
So many to choose from!
HIGH-END: Kinesis Freestyle 2 (PC $198, Mac $231), is a keyboard that splits into two halves (see picture). It is adjustable in regards to the width between the two hands and with added extras you can modify the angle of wrist pronation. Just be aware that this kind of keyboard takes some getting used to. I used the GoldTouch Adjustable after my wrist surgery because I couldn’t fully pronate for about 6 months. It took some getting used to, but I got there in the end and it was a huge help.
LOW-END: This low-profile Mac-like keyboard from J Burrows ($29). I’ve heard a lot of people say that they find it easier/less painful/less fatiguing to type on a Mac keyboard rather than your traditional PC keyboard. I believe it’s to do with the low profile keys and their flat surface. This looks almost identical to my Mac keyboard, so I would imagine it would be similar if not the same for typing on.
Things to think about when choosing your keyboard
Regular over compact (compact is like a laptop and can cause wrist ulnar deviation which can give you pain and injure your TFCC)
Wireless over wired, as long as it’s a reliable connection
Number pad vs. no number pad really depends on what you’re used to. If you have grown up with laptop keyboards then you probably don’t need the number pad. Just be wary that the number pad as part of a keyboard adds to the overall width and therefore interferes with the space you have available for your mouse. This can cause wrist, elbow and shoulder issues if you’re not careful.
HIGH-END: There is no need to go high-end on these!
LOW-END: The Fellowes Adjustable Laptop Riser ($59.47) I personally have one these for times when I have to use my laptop as my main computer. They are very lightweight and adjustable so it helps you to make the screen to the right height for you.
The Vu Ryte Flat Screen Monitor Riser ($18.70 per riser – requires multiple risers to achieve desired height) is also another good adjustable option
BOTH-ENDS: The Fellowes range of Monitor Risers ($59.46 – $106) is a great place to start. You will need to work out how much height you need to add before you make your purchase, as different raisers have different height adjustments. This is a good place to start looking.
HIGH-END: The OPC Inline Document Holder ($165-181). This one is great because it means you don’t have to turn your head to look at your documents!
Fellowes Flex Arm ($55) This one is helpful because it brings your document up to eye level for you, however, you will still need to turn your head. If you get one of these I would recommend frequently changing which side you have it sitting on.
Fellowes Document Life I-Spire Series ($47.30). This one is a document holder, dry erase whiteboard and clipboard all in one. The downside is that it’s low to the desk but still better than having the document sitting flat on your tabletop.
VOICE RECOGNITION SOFTWARE
For PC: Dragon Professional ($475) has been ranked as the most accurate
For Mac: Dragon Professional for Mac (Individual $475)
On Mac you also have the native (inbuilt) voice recognition/speech to text function but it is nowhere near as accurate.
*Please note, images link to our Amazon Affiliates Account: If you purchase through that link, we earn a little money which means we can keep Hypermobility Connect going! We only recommend items which we think will be useful, always with the hypermobile body-type in mind.
**Other in-text links are just links to stores in Australia where you can look at the item.
Michelle is a Senior Occupational Therapist working solely with adults with hypermobility and related conditions. Michelle is the owner of Hypermobility Connect, an online platform for people with hypermobility to connect with resources, health professionals & each other. Michelle practices OT in her private practice and provides education to health professionals relating to hypermobility conditions.