If you are experiencing hand, wrist and forearm pain, you may want to try a wrist support for your computer keyboard and mouse.  

However there are conflicting messages as to if wrists supports are beneficial or hinder pain while at the desk.

This article will guide you through what the wrist pain could be, why it happens, and how you can use a wrist support properly that could help increase comfort while at your desk.

What Causes Wrist Pain?

The wrist joint consists of a very narrow tunnel (approx. 3cm wide) of 9 tendons and the median nerve as well as a vital artery and veins to the hand that are encased by bones and the flexor reticulum ligament.

(See below image for more detail)

When any of the tendons swell or degenerate, it causes pressure on the median nerve that can form a condition called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Wrist joint consisting of tendons and the median nerve surrounded by bone and ligament.  This small tunnel is approximately 3cm in width.

Tendons can swell by the repetitive, frequent use of the hands when the wrist is in an extended or flexed position.

They can also become inflamed when there is frequent pressure on the flexor reticulum cause by resting you wrist on the desk while typing or using your mouse for long periods of time.

What are Wrist Supports?

Wrist supports were created to be a cushioning support when you use your keyboard and/or mouse.  It stopped the user from placing the wrist joint on the hard desk that aggravated the tendons and caused Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

keyboard wrist support

Example of a keyboard  and mouse wrist support.

However shortly after being recommended, wrists supports were also causing users Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as their wrists were being placed on the supports for longer, and the wrist joint still experienced pressure from the wrist support.  For more information on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and ergonomic solutions, please visit here.

  • Wrist supports for your keyboard and mouse can have benefits to a computer worker, however they need to be placed and used correctly to see these benefits.  

    • Julia Hillen

      Occupational Therapist, No More Pain Ergonomics

Correct Positioning of a Wrist Support

When we think of a wrist support, we imagine that we place the support on the wrist joint itself, however this is the crucial mistake.  

Position 1: Wrist Support on Palm of Hand

Place the wrist support so that the palm of the hand touches the support and leaves a gap between the wrist joint and the desk.  See below image for example.


Example of how to position the wrist rest while typing on the computer.

Position 2: Wrist Support on Forearm

Place the wrist support away from the wrist joint up the forearm.  This still provides rest for the hands while working on the computer and does not place any pressure on the Carpal Tunnel.

Important Consideration

If you have invested in a wrist support for a keyboard, ensure that you only use the tool sparingly.  

The palms or forearms should not be rested on the wrist support for long periods of time.  This may mean you will need to re-train your typing technique so that your wrists are hovering over the keyboard as opposed to resting on a support or the desk.  The support should be for intermittent use while in between typing sessions.


A wrist support can bring many benefits to your office desk with providing more comfort and support for rest breaks while typing as well as reducing the risk of the condition, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

As long as you position your wrist support correctly and use it sparingly, it will become a staple to your typing needs.

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