Wrist and Forearm Posture From Typing on Split and Vertically Inclined Computer Keyboards

Richard W. Marklin, Marquette University
Guy G. Simoneau, Marquette University
John F. Monroe, Marquette University

Human Factors, Vol. 41, No. 4 (December 1999): 559-569. DOI: 10.1518/001872099779656770.


A study was conducted on 90 experienced office workers to determine how commercially available alternative computer keyboards affected wrist and forearm posture. The alternative keyboards tested had the QWERTY layout of keys and were of three designs: split fixed angle, split adjustable angle, and vertically inclined (tilted or tented). When set up correctly, commercially available split keyboards reduced mean ulnar deviation of the right and left wrists from 12° to within 5° of a neutral position compared with a conventional keyboard. The finding that split keyboards place the wrist closer to a neutral posture in the radial/ulnar plane substantially reduces one occupational risk factor of workrelated musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs): ulnar deviation of the wrist. Applications of this research include commercially available computer keyboard designs that typists can use and ergonomists can recommend to their clients in order to minimize wrist ulnar deviation from typing.