In a previous post, we talked about how the way you choose and use your computer mouse can affect your typing speed and even lead to problems like repetitive stress injuries. Today we’ll look at some of the options in mouse styles, and provide ergonomic tips on how to use your computer tools to reduce your risk of muscle strain while helping improve your typing skills.
Most mice are approximately hand-shaped, whether they’re flat or rounded, and can be either plugged into a computer or laptop, or use a wireless connection. If you have limited desk space, you might find a wireless mouse to be more convenient, because it gives you more flexibility in where you put it. This style is common in office environments.
For people who do a lot of gaming, there’s another style of mouse that’s shaped like a joystick. A new style of ergonomic mouse uses this model, because having your hand and arm in that position is more natural than keeping the wrist flat. In this model, the click controls are on the side and top of the joystick, and you’ll find that you use your thumb more often. This mouse is a good choice for people who might be prone to carpal tunnel syndrome.
No matter what style you use, remember that the position you have your hand in while using a mouse is just as important as the position your hands are in on the keyboard when typing. If possible, try to get a platform for the mouse that puts it just over the numeric keypad to the right of the keyboard. This will allow your right hand, wrist, and arm to keep approximately the same position when you move between the keys and the mouse. If you’re left-handed, try to keep the mouse as close as possible to the keyboard so that you aren’t stretching your arm out to the side.
Many people recommend using a wrist rest to avoid injury when using a mouse, but in fact putting pressure on the wrist at the base of the palm actually cuts off circulation, and this can lead to more risk of injury, not less. If you have your mouse correctly situated, the natural curve of your hand and arm will help you keep your wrist elevated in the proper position.
When using the mouse, don’t restrict your movements to your wrist alone. Use your entire forearm to move the mouse – you’re not moving it much from side to side or back and forth, but try to keep the line of your forearm and wrist straight. When you bend your wrist from side to side to move the mouse and cursor, you’re putting additional strain on the tendons and muscles in your wrist.
What type of mouse would you recommend using?