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J Occup Environ Med. 1999 Feb;41(2):111-9.

Effect of keyboard keyswitch design on hand pain.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


This randomized clinical trial evaluated the effects of keyboard keyswitch design on computer users with hand paresthesias. Twenty computer users were matched and randomly assigned to keyboard A (n = 10) or B (n = 10). The keyboards were of conventional layout and differed in keyswitch design. Various outcome measures were assessed during the 12 weeks of use. Subjects assigned keyboard A experienced a decrease in hand pain between weeks 6 and 12 when compared with keyboard B subjects (P = 0.05) and demonstrated an improvement in the Phalen test time (right hand, P = 0.006; left hand, P = 0.06). Keyboard assignment had no significant effect on change in hand function or median nerve latency. We conclude that use of keyboard A for 12 weeks led to a reduction in hand pain and an improved physical examination finding when compared with keyboard B. There was no corresponding improvement in hand function or median nerve latency.

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