Ergonomics RSI Tips

Keyboard Thumping and RSI

One vivid memory of my injury when employed was watching how fellow workers in certain situations thumped their keyboards. I remember it well, because I used to wince when I saw them do it.

Having been an RSI sufferer for the best part of a decade, and having come from an identical background to my colleagues (and no doubt had been prone to thumping keyboards in my time), I fully realised the implications of the use of excessive force as people interacted with their keyboards.

Keyboard thumping (the act of hitting the keyboard keys with exaggerated force or heavy pounding) can be barely noticed by the user, but is usually attributable to them being overly frustrated with the computer/piece of software being used or or emotionally involved with an angry ‘flame’ mail etc. During these times it is not unusual for this anger and stress to build up and be vented in this way. There is really no place for emotional frustration and computer use. Your body needs to be ergonomically positioned, relaxed and fluid when interacting with computers in order to minimise the exposure to RSI causing effects, and not demonstrating emotional reactions like the guy below!

The keyboard/computer is ‘paying the price’ for the person’s anger and frustration.

In reality the keyboard (although it may well be suffering long term wear and tear from such actions) isn’t what’s ultimately paying the price, it’s the user’s health in the form of forearm/wrist/hand tendons/muscles, coupled with joint impact, especially if this behaviour becomes habitual.

The best approach for users when frustration and anger creeps into computer use, is to take a break (mental as well as physical), go cool off somewhere and let the emotions settle down. Rarely are any problems solved by emotional responses to computers or for that matter ‘flame’ emails, and ultimately you need to be aware that you are risking your health if you do. Try to recognise when you exert heavy pressure on keyboards, ask yourself why you are doing it, and if the cause is anger or frustration, go take a break.

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