/ carpal tunnel

The Importance of Ergonomics - Mice

In my first article in “The Importance of Ergonomics”, I went over the importance of the keyboard and how it can affect the health of your wrists, forearms and hands. In this article, I’ll cover mice (the computer kind), why the type of mouse you use is importance and show a few different ergonomic options. I just recently purchased a new mouse for work so I’ll share my findings here.

Mice, just like keyboards, can cause some serious wrist injuries, most notably carpal tunnel. If you look at the position of your forearm, wrist and hand, they naturally want to be in a vertical position – that is the position your hand is in when shaking hands.

When using a mouse, you are forcing your hand to be in a horizontal position. This puts strain on your forearm and wrist because you’re twisting your hand into a position that it does not naturally want to be in. This is what ends up causing pain and conditions such as carpal tunnel. Mice manufacturers have started creating mice to combat this issue – some extreme, some not so extreme.

One extreme example is the Ergoguys WP-012-BK-E.

Ergoguys WP-012-BK-E

This mouse is set up in a vertical position so that your hand can wrest in it’s most natural state. Your hand is almost in a pistol grip when using this mouse. The base of the mouse is also weighted so it’s not as easy to topple over while using it.

Although I haven’t used such a mouse, I have heard that it takes some getting used to. When clicking buttons, your hand has a tendency to push the mouse sideways instead of clicking the button. It takes a little bit of thumb strength to perform a left or right click. The beauty of it, though, is that it keeps your hand and wrist in that all important vertical position. I know some people that have used these and have like them.

When looking around for a new mouse for work, I, however, couldn’t get myself to pull the trigger on one of the extremely designed ergonomic mice. The lack of features and odd hand position were deal breakers for me. To find my new mouse, I browsed Amazon and Newegg and read tons of reviews. I narrowed the mice down to these options:

I liked each of these because they’re quality mice, have back and forward buttons (all mice should!), and all have decent DPI. After reading a lot on each of these mice, I had these thoughts:

  • The Corsair mouse has far too many buttons and possibly too much weight
  • The Sidewinder is too symmetric – I’m not looking for an ergonomic mouse, but definitely more than that
  • The MX Revolution has a funky side scroll wheel for “document quick flip” and lacks a micro usb charging port

After deliberations (with myself) I ended up going with the Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX.

Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse

Although it’s not advertised as an ergonomic mouse, it has more ergonomic features than most mice on the market. What really sold me on it, though, was 3 things: The free spinning scroll wheel, the semi-ergonomic design and the micro-usb plug.

So far I’ve had the mouse about a month and absolutely love it. I didn’t care to have a wireless mouse, so if it was wireless I decided it needed a way to be plugged in so I didn’t have to have batteries. This mouse has a micro usb port on the front that allows that. I actually leave it plugged in all the time.

The free spinning scroll wheel is pretty awesome, with one caveat: sometimes it spins too freely. I’ve had times where I’ve scrolled to a section of a page in my browser, hit Ctrl+C to copy something and suddenly found my browser zoomed to 25%. Unbeknownst to me my wheel was still spinning. This is relatively easily solved by switching the wheel to the click mode so it stops. Not absolutely ideal, but it works.

Next time you’re at your computer (probably now?) take a good look at your mouse. It’s important to have something with features you need to help get work done as well as a design that helps stave off issues like carpal tunnel. If you need a starting point, I’d definitely recommend the Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX.

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David Zych

David Zych

Dave is a dad, husband, programmer, (amateur) photographer, half-Canadian, alumnus of CSUCI, and an overall nice guy.

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