Neuropathy and Keyboards

I’m checking to see if the TD community has some experience or advice on dealing with neuropathy and computer use.

I’ve developed neuropathy recently as a result of chemotherapy treatments for cancer. I know that other conditions can also result in neuropathy like diabetes and carpal tunnel, but I’m unsure if these types of neuropathy are similar in sensations or discomfort. My chemotherapy induced neuropathy results in my finger tips feeling “asleep” 24/7 with that feeling of pins and needles along with reduced touch sensitivity that you get when your hand falls asleep and you have to shake it to get your full feeling back.

Holding a pen and writing by hand for long periods becomes uncomfortable. Typing on a keyboard has also become more uncomfortable. Since my profession involves hours of writing, I’m looking for solutions that allow me to stay at a keyboard for longer periods of time. I have noticed that typing on my Logitech K120 keyboards attached to my desktops seems to be more comfortable than my laptop keyboards that range from 2011 Toshiba Laptop (worst keyboard for comfort) to a 2022 ThinkPad T14. I’m guessing the Logitech keyboards feel better because there is more key travel allowing my brain to register that I’ve hit the key with the reduced touch sensitivity and perhaps the keys are easier to press than a laptop keyboard. I’m wondering if a higher quality keyboard would provide and even better experience.

Has anyone found that a mechanical keyboard helps with neuropathy?

I’m considering this Logitech mechanical with TTC Brown Switches.

Or do ergonomic keyboards like the Microsoft keyboard help more with neuropathy providing good key travel and touch sensitivity with the benefit of a comfortable typing position and padded wrist rest?

Are there wrist supports that help as well? (I’m thinking that since mine is not caused by carpal tunnel issues that this might be a moot point, but I also don’t know what I don’t know.)

Your advice is appreciated before I go out and spend money on a keyboard (I think all of my keyboards I have gotten for free from people just throwing them away.) :slight_smile:

I can’t help from personal experience. But have you looked to see what documents and studies are available for Google Scholar or Academia? Additionally, there is subredit devoted to neuropathy and even a topic dealing with chemoneuropathy.

Keyboard Phalanx Neuropathy:

Perhaps one of these resources will help you find some relief. I believe in the power of prayer and would be happy to pray for you.

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Thanks for the links, and thanks for the offer to pray. Since my profession is as a pastor, I have lots of people praying for me, but I welcome any other prayers that maybe offered as well. I will be meeting with my medical oncologist soon, and I’m starting physical therapy treatments that may bring some relief as well. Anything that gives me more time to write without discomfort will be great. After all I might be one of the few pastors who writes my sermons in vim every week :slightly_smiling_face:

If anyone in the TD community has experience with neuropathy being helped by keyboard choice, I would appreciate the insight before I start buying random keyboards for $60-$100.

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I can’t speak about your condition Mowest other than to wish you all the best. But I am what I would consider a keyboard enthusiast, having build and owned maybe a dozen over the last ten years. The only company I’d recommend without referring to any specific model is Keychron. They have models from many price points and at many sizes. All are excellent quality and their best line, the Q series are enough to satisfy most keyboard nerds like myself. The K series are very budget friendly and require less tinkering to “sound right”. Keyboard switches in general come in linear - soft and smooth, tactile - you feel a bump and clicky - for extra noise. I’d say linear are going to be the easiest on the fingers. Keychron’s come fully assembled or kit. If you go fully assembled you’ll be happy, if you choose a kit you can choose your own switches. If you choose you own switches I’d recommend Akko Jelly Picks as the smoothest linear I have ever come across they are also quite soft to press. However for any one having dexterity issues the assembly may be too much difficulty so I’d say say stick to a pre-assembled Keychron.

My partner just said, taking Alpha Lipoic Acid, L-Glutanmine and B12 helped him get rid of his neuropathy. Also cocobutter is also good barrier for the fingers. So look these up and make your own judgement.

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Wow, I thank you so much for the knowledge and recommendations, and even the supplement advice. All of it is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Just wanted to add this YouTube Video that addresses the type of neuropathy I have and how a mechanical keyboard can help to address some of the issues typists have with chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy. Thanks to @gemmakaru I included “keychron” in one of my searches and found the video. I wanted to share for others who might find this thread later in our community.

@gemmakaru after viewing the YouTube video that I linked in another response, I’m wondering if you have every used one of the Keychron keyboards with the Alice layout or what is sometimes referred to as an ergonomic keyboard. Just wondering if there is added benefit to that layout. I’m guessing there is a reason why almost all keyboard are still a standard straight layout and not the split layout (Alice layout) that is common with Microsoft Natural keyboards.

I’ve never used an Alice. I have the Q1 and Q2 models. I believe the Alice keeps the hand in line with the forearm and elbows. So could be good for that reason. I think it would be harder the get used to but could be great once learned.

I have a podcast recommendation for you, and specific episode. It will discuss some things that you may not be interested in, but listen to the whole episode.

It is about a person who has cancer and was given an estimate of a few months to live.


Let’s be blunt with Montel

Ep. Cannabis RX | Sherri Tutkis

You’ll learn a lot, and I recommend you listen to other episodes too.

I thought I would give a little update. I purchased a, Keychron K4 96% Layout Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard, Gateron G Pro Red Switch White LED Backlit Wireless Bluetooth 5.1/Wired USB 100-Key, keyboard. I also purchased an extra USB cable and a wrist pad to add comfort and to make it easier to use the keyboard both at home and work.

I’m very happy with the purchase, and I’m glad that I went with the Red Switches. They have the lightest pressure of all the Gateron switches which seems to work best with my neuropathy. My neuropathy is more constant “discomfort” and not as painful as experienced by other chemotherapy patients. So having the soft touch without the “click” of brown or blue switches seems to work well for me. I could imagine that having more tactile feedback would be helpful for more severe or painful neuropathy. I do feel more comfortable at the Keychron keyboard, than my Logitech K120’s but the K4 feels like the keys are closer together than the Logitech keyboards which are the other keyboards that I spend the most time at. I still feel more comfortable writing at the Keychron or Logitech keyboards than writing with a pen or pencil for long periods of time.

Although my treatments have come to an end, the cancer is not gone. I’m unsure what doctors will recommend next. There are perhaps surgeries and further chemo (which would slow any possible recovery from the neuropathy) as possibilities, but the doctors are waiting a little longer to see if the previous treatments continue to make some progress against the cancer.

I have appreciated the encouragement and ideas from the community presented in this thread. I have returned to full time work and more regular exercising which has been wonderful, and enjoyed a nice 4 day vacation with the family as well. I hope open source tools and hardware devises offer others that have ongoing health issues the ability to stay engaged in Linux and FOSS.

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Thanks for the update. Along the journey, some stages of life can be very difficult. Your positive attitude and persistence is a true encouragement. I, along with others, continue to pray for your complete healing. I’m glad these changes are resulting in progress.