THE SCIENCE BEHIND SPLIT KEYBOARDS

1. Mouse Over-Reach

Full-size keyboards 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 RGB 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. For typing, start with the key modules close together and gradually work them out to shoulder-width until you find the optimal configuration.

2. Forearm Pronation

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 RGB can be tented to at three heights: Low, Medium, and High. Start off at the lowest setting and work your way up until you find the optimal configuration.

3. Wrist Extension

Traditional keyboards slope up from front to back causing your wrist to bend backwards when gaming. When your fingers are higher than the wrist joint circulation is reduced which can lead to pain, fatigue, and even numbness. It may feel familiar, but try not to use the pop-up feet which make the problem even worse.

The Freestyle Edge RGB addresses painful Wrist Extenstion with zero degree slope and uniform keycaps so the back row of keys is the same height as the front row. The included cushioned Palm Supports keep your wrists at a neutral angle and fully supported so you can play longer and take fewer breaks.

4. Ulnar Deviation

Ulnar deviation occurs when your wrists are bent outward in the direction of your little finger because the home row keys are narrower than shoulder width. Ulnar deviation is one of the most common and dangerous keyboard postures because it constricts blood flow through your wrist, creates static muscle tension, reduces the size of the carpal tunnel which puts pressure on the median nerve.

Due to its compactness, Gamers can easily to rotate the Freestyle Edge RGB to reduce ulnar deviation and obtain optimal key coverage without having the keyboard dictate where to place the mouse. Positioning the mouse and keyboard independently means both hands are in the optimal 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. Start with a small rotation and work your way out to what feels most natural.

5. Ask the Experts from 1HP

I’m just another gamer, but… I’m also a trained Physical Therapist (Doctorate of Physical Therapy), Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS), Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Crossfit Level 1 Certified and work primarily in the orthopedic field. I see all kinds of injuries – Post-Surgery, Sports, Repetitive Strain, Low Back and of course those related to poor posture and work.  I’ve always been very fascinated with the human body and have not stopped learning about it since I first stepped into my weight training class in high school.

I decided to marry my two passions when I noticed how little gamers know about their own bodies and how to manage their health.  I found that when I stalked gaming forums, subreddits and even watched some professional gamers stream – there was a very obvious lack of knowledge with regards to fitness and health management.  I created 1HP to provide gamers with resources for managing their overall health, fitness, and mental well-being.

Ask Matt

I’d love to say I got my start in gaming as a physical therapist as a result of my education—an undergraduate degree in exercise science and neuroscience from Ursinus, then a Master’s in Clinical Anatomy and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Delaware.

But I really got my start because my gaming friends got fed up. They told me to stop complaining about the bad ergonomics I saw at tournaments unless I was going to do something about it, so I started doing something about it. My first effort was writing for a website called HighGroundTV. That caught the attention of players and managers who had questions about preventing and managing injuries, so I started writing an advice column to answer them.

Ask Caitlin
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