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I've noticed recently that when I program for periods of time, my right pinky starts to hurt a little. I think it has to do with the frequent need to use arrow keys for autocompletion and navigating around the code.

I started using the microsoft ergonomic keyboard and looking into touch typing but the former accentuates the distance of the arrow keys making the problem worse and the latter does not seem to be oriented for people who are constantly using modifier keys and arrow keys.

I read a bunch of suggestions that basically amount to switching over to learning the vim shortcuts and though I have used vim, I just don't see it as convenient, even in the form of ideaVim for my intellij setup as it's quite annoying to keep switching modes. That said, I have liked the way vim uses hjkl as arrows so I'm trying to see if I can adapt to use ctrl + the letter to substitute for arrow keys.

Also I'm not going to learn to use a dvorak keyboard. I already have enough trouble dealing with shortcut differences when I switch between macs and PC. Dvorak is interesting but in the end we live in a qwerty world.

I'd love to hear any solutions you guys have come up with.

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    Wear wrist braces preventatively during work. Forcing your wrists to stay straight while typing can help. – Kai Feb 24 '16 at 20:21
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about navigating the workplace as described in help center – IDrinkandIKnowThings Feb 24 '16 at 20:24
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    Also be cognizant of where you're resting your elbow - I had a chair where the arm pressed against the nerve on the outside of my elbow, and it resulted in numbness in my pinky strangely enough. Sit straight, position your keyboard properly, and get up and move around every so often. – ColleenV parted ways Feb 24 '16 at 20:30
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    If ergonomics is a valid tag for the workplace (and the OP obviously was able to select it), then it seems like this should be a valid question. – Amy Blankenship Feb 24 '16 at 23:35
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    @ThinkBonobo Yep, I do find myself jumping between modes like how you described, hitting <kbd>ESC</kbd>. It's not as painful as one would think. Once you've mastered the movement keys (ie: e = end of word, ctrl+f/b for pgup/pgdn, etc), you find you're able to jump to an exact position in a page/file/line with a single keystroke. In general, pretend everything to the right of the ENTER key (the arrows, numpad, insert/del/pgup/etc island) doesn't exist. – Cloud Feb 26 '16 at 16:27
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Check the ergonomics of your workstation. Is the monitor the right height? Is your chair the right height relative to the desk? Is the keyboard a distance away on the desk that's comfortable for you? Do you need a wrist rest, or not need a wrist rest? Is the keyboard at the right angle?

Other than that, try not to touch type. I can bash away all day with my index and middle fingers with no problems. Try using the mouse instead of the keyboard. If using the mouse too much also causes problems, see if the MouseKeys under the ease of access options on your operating system helps. I regularly use it in a strange way where I move the mouse with my left hand and bash the MouseKey buttons with my right - but that may not work at all for you.

  • Hey Simon. Interesting point to avoid touch typing. I'll try it but I was wondering if you had any links that discusses it. – ThinkBonobo Feb 25 '16 at 16:01
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    @ThinkBonobo It looks as though many sites recommend that you do learn to touch type xahlee.info/kbd/programer_keyboarding_advice.html though describing anything other than touch typing as "hunt and peck" is a bit extreme. math.ucdavis.edu/~greg/pinky-rsi.html looked interesting, though. Don't assume that what works for me works for you. – Simon B Feb 25 '16 at 16:29

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