Do you suffer from Shoulder Pain?

By Athlete's Care on February 10, 2024

Certified Ergonomist, Farzana Ismail, shares these tips on how to check your workstation for possible causes of shoulder pain:

  1. Is your desk too high for you?

    If your desk is too high, you may be assuming awkward shoulder postures (shrugged or forward reaching) for long durations while using the keyboard and mouse. The worksurface (where the keyboard and mouse are positioned) should be positioned at elbow height thus allowing for the neutral postures: shoulders relaxed, elbows at 90°-angle and straight wrists.


  • If your fixed-height desk is too high, try one of the following: i) Raise the seat height or place a seat cushion on the chair so the elbows are level with the keyboard and mouse; or ii) Install a keyboard / mouse tray to lower the height of the worksurface so that it is level with the elbows.
  • If your height-adjustable desk is too high, adjust the height of the desk surface so it is level with the elbows.  


  1. Are your chair’s armrests too high for you?

    Like the worksurface, the armrests should also be set at elbow height thus allowing for neutral shoulder relaxed postures.  


  • If your fixed height armrests are too high, remove them from the chair.  They could be doing more harm than helping.
  • If your height-adjustable armrests are too high, lower them so that they are level with the elbows.


  1. Are you using a keyboard that is too wide for you?

    A standard keyboard (equipped with a numeric keypad) measures 18 inches in width. Ergonomics principles dictate that you align the middle of the spacebar on the keyboard to the belly button; however, this increases the reach to the mouse resulting in sideways reaching with the right shoulder.


  • If you do not use the numeric keypad, opt for a mini keyboard which measures approximately 12 inches in width. This allows placement of the mouse closer and, consequently, neutral postures while mousing.
  • If you do use the numeric keypad, consider the use of a separate numeric keypad in conjunction with a mini keyboard or a compact financial keyboard. The compact financial keyboard measures approximately 15 inches in width (3 inches less than a standard keyboard) due to a revised layout where the middle section (Page Up, Page Down, Insert, Delete, Home and Directional keys) is embedded with the main typing keypad. 


Farzana is a Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist (CCPE). She provides ergonomics services for Office, Industrial and Service environments including: Ergonomics Risk Assessments (in-person / virtual), Physical Demands Analyses (PDAs), and Ergonomics Training sessions and webinars. To receive more information about the ergonomics services at Athlete's Care or to request an ergonomics assessment of your workstation, please email