De Quervain Syndrome and thumb keys

Has anyone with De Quervain syndrome spent any significant amount of time with the Model 01 and its thumb keys? I have it pretty bad in my right hand and the reliance on thumbs has me a little worried.

I think that as long as I don’t need to flex my thumb I’ll be fine, but for example I tried using an ErgoDox for about three hours before its terrible thumb-key layout had me in agony. (On the other hand, the venerable DataHand never gave me any trouble with its thumb switches, although I used it long before I developed De Quervain.)

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In general trying to use anything other than the two 2x keys on the thumb-cluster of an ErgoDox is almost impossible, most people end up using index finger for others.

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I thought using your index fingers on the 5 buttons around the two fat ones was by design. I have a kinesis advantage and it has the same config. where as my old maltron had a different one like this:

which was horrible… looks like some of the later model maltrons also used the two thumb and 5 index finger config.

Sorry i have no idea about De Quervain :frowning:

do you think you could use the center 3 keys of each hand for the thumb cluster functions. ie space, delete, backspace, enter and command+ctrl/windows+ctrl?

than use the top 3 buttons of the thumb cluster with your index fingers for something else?

I am thinking of my truly ergonomic as i type this - which has keys down the center. apart from space the thumbs dont do much on it.

I’ve used the Kinesis Classic for 15 years. It too has a thumb cluster, which transfers some of the work of the other fingers to the thumb. I find the configuration more comfortable than a typical layout, including for my thumbs, and better ergonomically overall.

I can’t hazard a guess how the Model 1’s thumb cluster will impact someone with existing thumb problems, but I suspect that, to the extent the Model 1’s configuration is similar to the Kinesis, it wouldn’t be likely to create new thumb issues.

Until today deQuervain’s was my working diagnosis, and thumb mobility issues are why I remapped space and backspace to the right and left function keys, respectively, and am trying to figure out where to map control and function.

With the remapping it’s quite comfortable. :slight_smile:

I just got back from learning that I have end stage degenerative arthritis in both wrists, and am supposed to wear these 23 hours a day:

Hooray for remappable keyboards!

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DeQuervain’s is my primary wrist problem as well so the thing key mapping has been a source of concern for me as well. Nice to hear that the keys can be mapped in a useful way!

Do those braces help with the arthritis?

I have DeQuervains too, and the biggest win for me has been using a foot switch for the command key — I haven’t gotten the Model 01 yet though.

I got the Savant Elite 2 footswitch from Kinesis, and then used Karabiner Elements so that “keypresses” on the foot pedals can modify my “normal” keyboard.

Does it hurt to move your thumb as well as bend it? For me, it’s mostly just flexing my thumb that hurts.


No idea. Doc wants me to try them. I don’t think they are helping; it feels like they are immobilizing my wrists in the wrong ways and causing me to aggravate the issue by resisting the brace while trying to do basic but necessary tasks, like turning a car key.

TBH I just pulled them off and put them outside to air out, because the fumes from the neoprene were giving me a headache, and they’re sweaty & itchy. Feh. They will probably join the pile of useless braces.

So far the things that have helped the most are Feldenkreis and a double hair elastic putting pressure on the joint:

I’m looking at this brace as one that seems promising:

It went through clinical trials and got excellent results, both in terms of reported pain level and improved grip strength. It’s designed to immobilize only the CMC joint while allowing the hand to function normally, and is designed to be gotten wet by normal tasks such as washing your hands, dishes, hair, etc.

I’ll give the neoprene ones a fair shake and then see if the hand doc will prescribe the expensive ones.

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So, my Model 01 arrived today, and my biggest problem with it is just that Shift and Ctrl should be reversed. Otherwise the layout feels pretty much fine! Hopefully I can get those two keys swapped and that will make things happier.

I recall someone working on a GUI tool for remapping the keys - has any progress happened on that front?

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