Do you feel pain and/or numbness in your mousing hand? Is it distracting you and making it difficult to work?
The repetitive motion of using a computer mouse can cause a variety of pains, strains and discomfort. If ignored for an extended period of time, this discomfort could develop into a serious injury. These are called Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI) and are very common among daily computer users. The most common condition, which you have probably heard of, is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). These conditions not only affect your hands but can be felt in your wrists and forearms as well.
There are a few steps you can take to reduce mousing pain and discomfort that don't involve spending any money. First, and most importantly, you must start taking frequent breaks from computer work. The benefits of this behavior are enormous, and not only for your hands and arms. Pausing what you are doing and getting up from your computer chair frequently throughout the day will greatly enhance your sense of well-being and productivity. Strain will be reduced in your entire body including your neck, back and legs. There is no single product, no matter how expensive, that will help you feel better if you do not leave your chair for hours at a time.
Some users have also found relief from switching mousing hands throughout the work day or wearing custom wrist braces. If you've already tried the above mentioned tips and you are still feeling discomfort there are various ergonomic mouse devices on the market that may help you. Ergonomic mice come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, so be sure to do some due diligence before making a purchase to ensure you are choosing the best product for you.
The most popular and best selling mouse, going back to 2002, is the Evoluent Vertical Mouse. This device features a sideways or "handshake" design that has been reported by thousands of users to alleviate most discomfort from extended periods of mousing. This mouse is available in both right and left-hand versions, in two sizes (standard and small) and with wired or wireless connectivity. It works with PC, Mac and Linux operating systems. To read actual customer reviews of this mouse see this page on ErgoDirectUSA.com.
The Evoluent's main rival is the HandShoeMouse, which has been available for a few years now and has taken a good portion of the market share. This mouse features a completely different design than the VerticalMouse but is still unique and beneficial to hand pain sufferers. The makers of the HandShoe Mouse claim that it "fits like a glove" and that it provides superior ergonomic benefits over other models. Users of this mouse have reported a reduction in finger, hand and wrist pain and the manufacturer provides various research and studies to back up its claims. The Hand Shoe is offered in three different sizes (small, medium and large) and for both right or left-handed users. You can also order this mouse with a standard USB connector or a wireless USB receiver.
Next up is the Goldtouch ergonomic computer mouse which is shaped most like a standard mouse out of all the ergo options. This device features a slightly sloped design with strategically placed contours to enhance comfort and reduce pain caused by wrist pronation. It helps support a more neutral wrist angle with its 24° downward slope. Goldtouch also included design elements on the thumb side of the mouse that help reduce stress on the thumb joints. This was done in response to the rising number of cases of RSI that are related to the overuse of the thumbs when sending texts and e-mails from smart phones and other portable devices. This model is also available in both left and right-hand versions.
The 3M Stick Mouse is another model that has been available for many years and has a proven track record of helping users who report hand strain. This device has a unique joystick shape that sets it apart from other models. However, it doesn't actually function like a joystick, meaning it does not pivot, and you move the entire device during use. It is available in two sizes (small/medium and large) and with wired or wireless connectivity. All variations can be found at Datavision Ergonomics.
The SmartFish Whirl Wireless Laser Mouse with ErgoMotion is a newer device that boasts a very unique design. This model actually rocks in all directions during use which is a big change from standard "fixed position" mice. This motion is said to adapt to your natural hand and wrist positions during use. It features an ambidextrous design making it a great fit for right-handed or left-handed users. It is also the least expensive wireless ergonomic mouse available.
The newest device, or the one released most recently, is the Penclic Ergonomic Pen Mouse. As you may have guessed by the name, this model looks and feels like a pen you would write with. It was designed in such a way to capitalize on the precision control we all have at our fingertips. This mouse has five buttons and a scroll wheel, and can be ordered with a wired or wireless connection.
Some people have reported experiencing relief from completely ditching the idea of using a mouse, and instead using a touchpad as an input device. These touchpads, the type normally found built in to laptop computers, are available as standalone units. To move the cursor and click you simply glide your finger across the surface and tap. People with certain disabilities have also found this type of input device to be easier and more comfortable to use than other ergonomic mice.
Even though it may seem a bit strange, some people, particularly those with certain disabilities, have found that being able to control their input device with their feet is beneficial. The most well-known foot mouse is made by a company called Bili, and while it was never a best-seller it certainly has its uses.