Personal history

In 2019, I started to feel pain when typing. I had had typing related repetitive stress injury (RSI) pain almost a decade before, and became pain-free with the help of a registered occupational therapist (OTR). However, this time, the stretches and ice regimen she had given me were not effective, and I sought out other treatments.

RSI can instigate brutal feelings of depression and hopelessness, especially if your career depends on your ability to type for many hours as mine does. If this is you, I'm so sorry. I built this site to show one aspect of my strategy for managing pain from repetitive stress.

Do note that this is just one aspect. I hope to talk more about the other aspects in the future.

How an ErgoDox helped

I would have tried anything to help with the pain. My research suggested that trying a split keyboard could help by keeping my shoulders square and, along with a desk at the proper height, keeping my elbows at right angles. I'd found several options and ultimately decided I wanted to try an ErgoDox keyboard.

My brother had an ErgoDox Infinity that he had bought as a kit and put together himself, and attempted to convince me to get one of my own. Rather than build a kit myself, though, I opted for a preassembled ErgoDox-EZ.

It turned out that while it was true that my shoulders were more square when I used it, I had not anticipated a much more significant benefit. I could remap every painful key under my pinkies to keys under my thumbs. For instance, I moved the shift key to an easy location under my left thumb.

Before this, pinkies on both hands hurt. A lot. They would alternate, some days the right hand, some days the left hand, some both, some neither. The finger would naturally curl into what felt like a useless claw, and stretching my hand flat would be painful. Hitting any key with that finger would cause pain, sometimes sharp pain, and chording (e.g. holding shift with a pinky while reaching for a letter) was impossible. The tendon on the outer side of my forearm that runs from the pinky to the elbow would be swollen and rock hard. Grip was difficult. Some days I didn't trust my ability to hold a full pint glass with one hand.

But when I moved the commonly used keys like shift under my thumb, the difference was night and day. Once I got used to the placement, I could type longer without hurting. I never had grip problems and had pain there much less often. It didn't solve RSI for me, and I've been working to manage it ever since, with some success but not total victory. But just the key relocation really did mean the difference between a week of full productive days and a week of misery, coming in late and leaving early and trying to find anything to do besides type.

About me

I'm Micah. Hi 👋

Please, email me.