If you have wrist pain or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, this article instructs you what to look for when purchasing a new mouse. If you have any questions about specific mice or if you have any mouse that you want reviewed please let me know!
- More wrist pain risks are increased with a conventional/traditional computer mouse.
- A combination of a vertical mouse and a wrist rest reduces the amount of awkward postures. And by doing so, reduces the risk for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome development or its related symptoms.
In a past ergonomic consulting position, a large portion of my consulting was dedicated to completing office assessments – about 60 percent of my time was dedicated to completing these. Clients frequently asked me about what the best mouse available on the market was. Often they were displeased with my answer of ‘it depends’, but it really does depend on many factors! I will post later on some of my favourite office equipment, including types of mice. Today’s review is based on an article that examines mouse type and the reduction of wrist pain risks. Overtime, under very specific scenarios wrist pain can develop into an extreme and painful condition, known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).
Mice features can be the root cause of CTS symptoms by increasing the following ergonomic risks:
- Non-neutral wrist/forearm postures,
- Repetitive and sustained activity of the wrist, and
- External pressure over the underside of the wrist (palmar region) caused by soft tissue compression between a table or gel wrist rest.
This is where ‘alternative’ mice come into play. Usually, manufacturers boast that their products can reduce or prevent CTS risk. There is, however, very limited supporting evidence! These mice either promote a more neutral wrist and forearm position or prevent external pressure over the palmar wrist region. The authors of this study chose to examine the effectiveness of ‘ergonomically’ designed mice and mouse pads in those with CTS. An ergonomically designed vertical mouse (to promote a more neutral forearm position), a gel mouse pad (to promote a more neutral wrist position), a gliding palm support (to promote a more neutral wrist position while decreasing external pressure of the carpal tunnel) and a standard mouse (for comparison reasons) were used.
The results of this study indicates that the already elevated wrist pressure in patients with CTS is further increased when using a conventional/traditional computer mouse. None of the above evaluated ergonomic devices (that are commonly recommended for CTS) resulted in a reduction in wrist pressure.
Further, it is well established that progressive wrist extension (upwards wrist movement) and ulnar deviation (side to side wrist movement) increases wrist pressure in healthy participations and patients with CTS. All devices in this study could not entirely prevent an increase in wrist extension and ulnar deviation. The vertical mouse limited the amount of ulnar deviation and the addition of ergonomic wrist pads reduced wrist extension compared to a standard mouse.
Schmid, A., Kubler, P., Johnston, V. & Coppieters, M. (2015). A vertical mouse and ergonomic mouse pads alter wrist position but do not reduce carpal tunnel pressure in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. Applied Ergonomics, 47 151-156.