When it comes to computer work the mouse is often seen as a prime cause of hand and arm pain and there are many reasons for this. Some of these problems might be due to the actual mouse but often its more down to the way we use it.
Factors which affect which mouse is right for you
- how long you are using a mouse for,
- the position you have the mouse in,
- the techniques you use
- the type of mouse work you do i.e. click and drag or
- the amount of pressure you are under at work.
If you have tried to look at these issues and still think you need a different mouse there is only a few studies that show the benefit of a different designs. What we do know is that when it comes to buying a new mouse you need to look at a number of factors to decide which isthe right one for you.
Factors to consider include shape, size, style, and buttons as well as whether you want
- a wheeled (corded)
- optical (cordless) mouse
- Vertical mouse that allows you to rest your hand on the side
The best shape is generally a smooth un-contoured shape. Choose.
- Tear shaped mouse that has no sharp edges at the wrist
- A flatter shape to avoid any extreme wrist angle
- A symmetrical shape so it can be used in either hand.
A mouse that is large enough to support all of your palm and most of your fingers.
TIP – as a guide the mouse should be as long as from the base of your wrist to the finger pad of your index finger.
The choice is generally between a ball ontop or below.
- a mouse that moves on the desk with a ball underneath. These can be either a standard mouse or adjustable to the size of your hand
- a mouse with a rollerball or trackball ontop.The mouse doesn’t move across the desk so it’s useful if you have shoulder or wrist problems. Movement is through the thumb and fingers on the rollerball. You can then choose whether you have your hand position flat as with a Logitech cordless or or whether your hand is vertical as with the grip, or evoluent.
- The buttons should activate with a light touch so there is no need to grip the mouse tightly
- A roller button is useful for scrolling
- Choose a drag lock or click lock if you do a lot of click and drag at work.
- Programmable buttons such as the Kensington Expert Mouse
Try out a few different mouse styles but only after you have checked everything else on your desk is set-up correctly.
How to position the mouse if you have shoulder problems
- Keep the mouse close to the keyboard so your elbow is hanging by your side
- Don’t let it drift forward or away.
- Make sure you have sufficient length on the mouse lead
What to consider if you have elbow problems
- Avoid gripping too hard,
- Choose a roller ball that doesn’t move on the desk
- Use a drag lock
What mouse to use if you have wrist problems
- Use a roller ball
- Consider a vertical mouse
- Avoid flicking the wrist from side to side