Does Touch Typing Cause Repetitive Strain Injury

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Should You Learn Touch-Type


If you don't play any sports, you are likely to have less injury than a pro. But you won't be as capable, and more prone to injury, given the same load.

In a similar way, this is so for touch typing.

If you do not touch type:

Maybe you don't write a lot emails or docs or blogs, but other programers do.

Programers say don't touch type

Some programers claim 6-finger-peck is best practice to avoid RSI. I have on record 2 notable programers saying this to me in public forum/blog.

Someone wrote:

My recomendation for avoiding RSI while typing a lot is very simple: don't touch type. Use just three or four fingers and the thumb. I've been doing this for 20+ years now, and can type at around 40+ words per minute, which is generally faster than I can think.

source: comment at

Someone wrote:

Matt Garman writes:

Does anyone have any thoughts on keyboarding injuries, in particular those caused by “chording” (pressing multiple keys simultaneously)?

Easy: don't touch-type.

That will make sure that you move your hands enough to avoid any problem. Emacs and its “few (tho complex) key strokes” approach compensates for the slower typing. And typing speed is not relevant anyway since you'll spend more time thinking about what to write.


Someone wrote:

Do you mean to say that touch typing is unhealthy in general…

Just that I've known several people who suffered from RSI and several people who can't touch-type and the two sets are disjoint. A correlation between the two is expected (people who type a lot are more likely to know how to touch-type), but the fact that the two sets are actually disjoint is I think more than a coincidence. If you look at people who don't touch-type (like me), you'll see their hands move a lot, so their arms work more and their hands and fingers work less.


Programers Recommending Touch Type

Here is two celebrity coder Steve Yegge and Jeff Atwood on this issue:

Touch type, speed typing