PC gamers spend more time in front of a computer screen than most office professionals, yet ergonomics is often an afterthought both for gamers themselves and hardware manufacturers.
This guide will educate gamers of all ages about what to look for in a gaming keyboard, how to configure their game station, and provide other tips and tricks staying comfortable and healthy so you can boost your performance and stay in the game.
Search the top gaming keyboards from the world’s leading manufacturers and you often see references to “ergonomic”, but more often than not, this is just lip service. Companies slap a hard “wrist-rest” on the keyboard and stamp the product as ergonomic. Gamers may use their keyboards slightly differently than typists, but the same “Risk Factors” apply when using conventional keyboards for an extended period of time.
At Kinesis, we know there is MUCH more to ergonomics than a “wrist-rest”, and in 2017 we launched Kinesis Gaming to develop premium peripherals for gamers looking to boost their comfort and control without sacrificing performance and style. The Freestyle Edge is the first split mechanical keyboard designed specifically for gamers who demand more from their keyboard.
Benefits of a split keyboard like the Freestyle Edge
Full-size keyboards, especially those with an integrated 10-key, force gamers to reach around the keyboard to grip the mouse.
This posture puts excessive strain on your wrist, elbow and shoulder. TKL and “Tournament Edition” keyboards reduce the footprint, but they don’t go far enough. And aggressively rotating the keyboard to generate more mousing room just creates a different set of problems.
The Freestyle Edge lets you move the right half of the keyboard out of the way so you can position your mouse inside of your right shoulder for more comfort, precision, and dexterity.
When you are comfortable, your baseline level of performance increases. The Edge is especially great for low-DPI mousing and eliminates those nasty collisions with your keyboard.
Traditional flat keyboards force you to type and game with your wrists facing down towards the desktop.
This pronated posture causes your ulna and radius bones to rotate which increases pressure on the forearm muscles and reduces circulation. Forearm Pronation causes fatigue and can even lead to repetitive strain injuries that knock you out of the game.
Split keyboards that support tented configurations allow gamers to elevate the thumb-side of their hands.
Research has shown that tenting relieves forearm tension for maximum comfort and stamina. With the optional Lift Kit, the Freestyle Edge can be tented to 5˚, 10˚, or 15˚. Get acclimated at 5˚ and then experiment at 10˚ and 15˚ to see what you prefer.
Traditional keyboards slope from front to back causing your wrist to bend backwards when typing because the back row of keys is higher than the front row.
When your fingers are higher than the wrist joint circulation is reduced which can lead to pain, fatigue, and even numbness. And whatever you do, don’t use the pop-up feet which make the problem even worse. Wrist rests can partly address this issue.
The Freestyle Edge addresses painful Wrist Extenstion with 0˚ slope and uniform keycaps, so the back row of keys is the same height as the front row.
The detachable Palm Supports keep your wrists at a neutral angle and fully supported. And the optional cushioned Palm Pads provide comfortable support exactly where you need it, so you can play longer and take fewer breaks.
Ulnar deviation is among the most common and potentially damaging keyboard postures. It occurs when your wrists are bent outward in the direction of your little finger because the home row keys are narrower than shoulder width.
This bending constricts the blood flow through your wrist and creates static muscle tension. The median nerve runs through the carpal tunnel in your wrist and ulnar deviation reduces the size of the carpal tunnel, puting pressure on this nerve.
Gamers can rotate the Edge to find an angle that minimizes Ulnar Deviation while also giving them the necessary key coverage.
Since the left key module is so much smaller than a conventional keyboard, it can be rotated to the optimal angle without dictating where to place your mouse, so both hands can be in the best position for maximum comfort and performance. The Edge is ideal for typing and games that require two hands on the keyboard because you can independently rotate the modules to eliminate Ulnar Deviation on both hands.
When it comes to configurating your gamestation, we recommend following the same guidelines for an office set-up. Read our Workstation Configuration guide here for more details and check out this handy diagram from our physical therapist friends (and gamers) at 1HP Gaming.
Tips and Tricks
No matter what genre of game you play, there are always natural pauses in the action. Use those opportunities to get up, stretch, walk around the house and get the blood flowing. Being completly sedentary for long periods of time is really bad for your body.
Whenever you sit down for a long campaign, fill up a water bottle and put it within easy reacy. Dehydration can cause a variety of issues while your gaming and its easy to address.
The top eSports athletes in the world are now incorporation strength and cardiovascular training into the practice regimens because they know physical fitness is a key part of their gaming performance. If you are new to exercising, work with a trainer or more experienced buddy to help you get started.
Learn more about the Freestyle Edge