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What is an Ergonomic Keyboard Tray?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2016
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An ergonomic keyboard tray is a piece of equipment that typically connects to a desk and holds a keyboard for use with a computer. These devices can vary quite widely in the options and utility they provide and can be designed to only hold a keyboard or to hold a mouse as well. This type of tray can also come with an arm or other connection to a desk, which can be adjustable or simply hold the tray at a stable position. An ergonomic keyboard tray is typically designed to allow comfortable use of a computer keyboard, without placing undue strain on a person’s wrists, arms, or hands during use.

Often designed with the assistance of medical professionals, an ergonomic keyboard tray is typically meant to prevent physical conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome due to computer use. Many desks and computer workstations may include keyboard trays, which often can slide in and out from the desk for ease of use. These trays are not always designed ergonomically, however, and so the long-term use of these desks can potentially cause harmful conditions in a computer user. The design of an ergonomic keyboard tray, however, is intended to allow for more comfortable use that ensures the health of the user as well.

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An ergonomic keyboard tray may come as part of a desk, or it can be a separate piece of hardware installed onto a desk. It will usually be a tray that has room enough for a keyboard and wrist rest, though some models also have room for a mouse as well. This type of tray can be connected by sliders on each side that allow it to move in and out of the desk, or by an arm that can allow the tray to be placed in a number of different positions. An adjustable ergonomic keyboard tray can be quite effective and allow a person to use it more comfortably; however, a computer user may be prone to positioning the keyboard in a way that is comfortable but ultimately unhealthy.

In general, a keyboard should typically be used in much the same way as a piano keyboard, with the arms bent at the elbow and the wrist fairly straight. Some people who type without an ergonomic keyboard tray may be prone to lettings their wrists bend, which can lead to health issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome. A wrist pad is typically included as part of an ergonomic keyboard tray to prevent this type of muscle strain, though a tray that is on an adjustable arm could be positioned in a way that circumvents the benefits of such features. Someone already suffering from muscle disorders, however, may find this sort of adjustable keyboard tray allows him or her to more comfortably work at a computer.

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