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ergonomic mouse

How does an ergonomic mouse help reduce strain?

Not just for those already experiencing wrist or arm strain, everyone can use an ergonomic mouse as a comfortable way of navigating around your computer screen.

What is a mouse used for?

A computer mouse is a handheld pointing device placed on a flat surface to move a cursor around a computer screen for easy navigation or design work around the screen.

History of the mouse

The earliest mouse appeared in 1968 and invented by American engineer Douglas Engelbart. The original designs had a cord connecting the mouse to the computer, and had a resemblance to the rodents’ tail, hence the name. The mouse was developed for consumer use and by the late 1970’s and early 80’s many computers including Xerox, Apple Macintosh and Microsoft were sold with a mouse.

By the early 1990’s it was clear that revisions were needed in the design. Little had really changed since the earliest 1960’s models and repetitive usage was causing pain, discomfort and even injury to users. Jack Lo’s ergonomic invention and patent was the first upright mouse designed for the arm to be situated in a handshake position, reducing strain, wrist joint pain and tightness in the forearm. The vertical ergonomic mouse shifts the position of the hand and helps to prevent pain in the shoulders, lower arms, and hands.

Conditions caused by improper mouse use

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Causes tingling and numbing of the hand and fingers due to compression of the median nerve. It is often caused by repetitive movements.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Is associated with pain and impairment of the tendon and muscles in the wrist due to repetitive movements.

Mouse Arm Syndrome

Affects muscles in the hands and forearms. Tingling, aches, pain, stiffness and loss of flexibility.

Types of ergonomic mouse to reduce strain

Vertical Mouse

A vertical mouse is simply a conventional mouse turned 90 degrees so no twisting of the arm and less bend in the wrist. It can take a bit of getting used to, especially when trying to click on smaller icons, but offers comfortable repetitive use.

Roll Bar Mouse

Avoids shifting your hand to the side of your PC every time you use your mouse. A roll bar mouse sits in front of your keyboard to help keep your arms and hands in a more natural position. Many have built-in arm rests for enhanced comfort and acts as a more comfortable way of using the pad on your laptop.

Trackball Mouse

With side mounted buttons to help prevent hand cramps, the trackball mouse features a large ball for moving the cursor with your thumb, making manoeuvring comfortable for your hand. These mice only require a small surface area so ideal for travelling on planes or trains.

How to choose the right ergonomic mouse for you

  • Consider how much you use the mouse each day. Think about what part of yours of your hand, wrist or arm are experiencing pain. If you have wrist pain, a vertical mouse will be good for you.
  • If you are struggling with shoulder pain, a trackball might be the best solution.
  • Consider whether the mouse is suitable for left handers, some models are ambidextrous

Use other ergonomic accessories

Whilst an ergonomic mouse is not a magic cure for discomfort in your arm, shoulder or wrist, it can help ease your body into a more natural position. Don’t forget other accessories that could help, such as a wrist rest and gel mouse pad, ergonomic keyboard and ergonomic foot rests. Ensure your desk is set up correctly by carrying out a Display Screen Assessment and seek out products to help you stay comfortable whilst working at a desk. If you need advice as to which ergonomic mouse is best for you, contact our friendly team for a discussion. We will guide you through the range of ergonomic products available from our extensive range.

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