Document Type




Format of Original

11 p.

Publication Date



American Physical Therapy Association

Source Publication

Physical Therapy

Source ISSN



Alternative computer keyboards whose halves can be slanted toward each other can reduce a risk factor (ulnar deviation) for work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) affecting the upper limbs. Two questions that computer keyboard operators face when using keyboards that can be separated into halves (split keyboards) are: (1) At what angle should the keyboard halves be opened? and (2) At what distance apart should the keyboard halves be placed? The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of the opening angle and separation distance between halves of a split keyboard on wrist ulnar deviation and typing efficiency. Methods. Eleven experienced computer keyboard operators participated in this study and used a split keyboard that was set up in a conventional (nonsplit) format and also in 3 alternative configurations: (1) centers of keyboard halves were separated at 20-cm distance, (2) keyboard halves were separated half of the distance of shoulder width, and (3) keyboard halves were separated at shoulder width distance. Results. The 3 alternative configurations resulted in ulnar deviation of both wrists that were less than ulnar deviation from typing on a conventional setup. There were no differences in ulnar deviations among the 3 alternative configurations. Discussion and Conclusion. The results of this research provide physical therapists and ergonomists with a set of configurations of a split keyboard that they can recommend to their patients or clients. All of the alternative configurations of the split keyboard are beneficial in promoting a neutral wrist position, which theoretically would decrease exposure to WMSDs such as tenosynovitis in the wrist and carpal tunnel syndrome. [Marklin RW, Simoneau GG. Effect of setup configurations of split computer keyboards on wrist angle. Phys Ther. 2001;81:1038 –1048.]


Published version. Physical Therapy, Vol. 81, No. 4 (2001): 1038-1048. Permalink. © American Physical Therapy Association 2001. Used with permission.