Learning the keyboard and new finger pains

I’ve been experiencing discomfort in the second joint of my left pointer seemingly due to reaching for the R, T, and G qwerty keys (which I’ve remapped to D, K, and M respectively for my MTGAP like layout). I have just discovered that I naturally rest my left hand significantly less pronated than my right hand, making the reach that much farther for that hand’s pointer. I’m now consciously putting it in the same slightly more pronated position as the right, hoping my new positioning resolves the issue - seems to be helping after a few minutes of testing.

Never had this issue on previous boards and going back to my MS Sculpt even with MTGAP helps clear the discomfort.

Has anyone else experienced this or something similar? Any advice?

I’ve got some hardware to test out some larger tenting angles but haven’t gotten to testing that with this new perspective. Seems like that would be helpful.

This might be super obvious, but have you tried splitting the keyboard? If you really do want one hand to have more or less pronation, that sounds like something the octopus stands might be able to handle. I sometimes like to use the two halves of the keyboard flat with an angled gap between them, allowing me to adjust to a comfortable shoulder width and angle. There are a bunch of diy solutions for giving your keyboard some extra negative tilt, which does wonders for helping my pointer fingers reach their targets.

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This post of my layout shows the funny-shaped wooden stand I made to get maximum negative tilt. I still haven’t improved upon its simplicity.

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Also, it occurs to me that some of your discomfort might be the result of a switch away from a traditional staggered keyboard? The keys that you mention for the left pointer are moved closer on a traditional staggered board. So maybe your left pointer is just having to reach farther for the first time. The staggering has ill effects for other weaker fingers, so maybe the growing pains could be worth it. Just a thought.

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Thanks for all the feedback!
-I’ve tried splitting and all sorts of different configurations, nothing seems significantly better except a 90 degree angle between the boards with the inner edges touching (see photo). Still exploring this but would like something a little more portable so I’m not tied to my desk.
-I think the negative tilt actually makes those keys farther away. That said, my keyboard tray (by Uplift if you’re interested) can do negative tilt and I’ve found somewhere around 6-8 degrees most comfortable. I think my Sculpt was typically around 12-15 all factors considered.
-Getting used to the board is definitely part of it but the quickness with which the discomfort rises in certain positions seems indicative of that position not being good for me.

I shall keep experimenting…

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Well that is some extreme tenting! I like the way it looks like you are cushioning the edges with foam as you experiment. If I’m understanding your dilemma, you want more supination of the left vs. right hand? With some camera mounts, you might be able get each side just right but if you are set on using the keyboard tray, mounts might get in the way.

I’ve actually got a pair of these Arkon mounts that I didn’t end up using. If you have any interest in giving them a new home, send me direct message.

Hope you dial it in!

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I’m going for even supination but found that i have my left turned in less than my right naturally. It seems partially a matter of retraining my left so that it’s in the proper position while typing.

I’ll pass on the mounts right now but thank you for the offer.

I also had some discomfort in my joints from learning the keyboard. They’ve definitely improved over a few weeks, but not vanished entirely. I think the things that helped me are:

  • Getting stronger (previously I was typing on a mac laptop keyboard which required approximately no force to depress a key)
  • Letting my hands float while typing, rather than wresting my wrists - this means the index finger in particular doesn’t have to be reaching so far to press the T key since the whole hand moves a bit

I’m definitely interested in other strategies for continuing to mitigate this!

Thanks Evan. These two factors seem to be some of the biggest after a week. Floating my hands is definitely beneficial. I’ve also gone back to the tenting bar with no tilt - then using this on a flat keyboard tray or my lap. I haven’t noticed any of the finger pain since then (Thursday).

But then I think I overdid it in my excitement that I had a found comfortable position and was sore in my thumbs and a few other places after a two long days of typing. As you stated, the keyswitches are definitely more effort to depress than a laptop keyboard, or the Sculpt that I’m coming from. So pacing and slowly adopting the keyboard seems important too, for me at least.