Question: Can anyone give me advice about ergonomic keyboards and the new “Touchpad” feature? I just returned to work after a week’s rest. I was recently diagnosed with RSI (tenosynovitis and de Quervains) and bought myself a Microsoft innovations Windows 95 compatible ergonomic keyboard. It seems pretty good, and keeps the hands in the proper position; but is there any reviews available on it, and does anyone out there know of better alternatives?

More important, I’d appreciate some advice on the optional touchpad – the black square near the bottom of the keyboard where you move the cursor around by rolling your finger and clicking the special keys. On the one hand, it seemed like a great advance over having to use the Mouse. On the other hand, it felt very uncomfortable and the spacing doesn’t allow room to put any padding there for my wrist. I guess my question is – Is using the touchpad any improvement for someone with RSI? And if so, then what should be the proper hand position and what fingers should be used for the cursor and clicking? The manual and ergonomic literature I’ve seen doesn’t include any guidance. Any input on this would be appreciated.

Answer 1: The Maltron is much better IMO – more expensive by a long way but you can rent it for 10 UKP per week as a trial. See the Typing Injury web site and RSI-UK web site for more info, accessible via the URL below. I have never really used these – why can’t you put a wrist rest in front, by the way? Surely any wrist rest would be OK? It seems to me that using any sort of pointing device without resting the arm or hand on something is going to cause trouble. I think this is why lots of RSI people like trackballs, for example. I use a mouse and rest my palm on the base of it (since it is an MS Mouse it is almost big enough for this).

Answer 2: That is interesting – Putting the palm on the base of the mouse. I am confused about the wrist rest. I thought you should only use it when you are not typing. When typing, the hands should be in the air. Is that right?

Answer 3: “Putting the palm on the base of the mouse”. Only works with fairly large mice, e.g. MS Mouse 2.0 (current version), or ideally a bigger one than that!

Answer 4: Can anyone tell me where I can buy an external touchpad mouse in London? High street shops do not have them and suppliers advertising in PC world do not have them either. An internet search found only US suppliers (plenty of them but expedition is more than 100% of cost).

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