Did you know that 1 in 6 workers is suffering from some form of RSI or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? These are conditions that, in the ergonomic industry, are widely associated with overuse of a poorly designed computer mouse. This can lead to people spending weeks or even months out of work and, in worst case scenarios, can require operations to resolve.
There is an easier alternative to developing these problems though – use a good ergonomic mouse. This begs the question, however, of how one identifies a ‘good’ ergonomic mouse. To answer that question, we first need to look at a regular mouse and the design problems that cause mouse pain to begin with.
Regular computer mice are designed in such
a way as to make you grip them. (see image below) While this may seem normal,
it is these very gripping and pinching actions that lead to RSI and Carpal
Tunnel Syndrome developing. This is because the actions are being done all day,
often 5 or 6 days a week, with the muscles getting little or no rest. On top of
this, we often leave see people hovering over the mouse switches on
conventional mice, adding to the muscle tension and cramped nature of the hand
Another common issue with regular mice is the angle of the hand during the use of a computer mouse. We have two main bones in our forearm, Ulna and Radius, with a membrane connecting the two. To help prevent mouse pain, it is important that the blood flow through this membrane is as unobstructed as possible, and the angle of the hand on the mouse is key to this. To optimise the blood flow, the hand needs to be in the “natural position”. If the hand is twisted to far in one direction or another, the blood flow becomes restricted and problems can ensue.
The last problem worth mentioning is the development of rough/irritated patches of skin around the wrist area. These often develop due to the rubbing of the wrist against the desk during mouse use. Because the skin there is quite thin, with the bone quite close to the surface, it is an easy area of the body to irritate. While this is sometimes considered a minor issue compared to the big problems like RSI and Carpal Tunnel, it is easily preventable.
If the above causes mouse pain, then an ideal ergonomic mouse would do the following:
- Prevent any gripping and pinching – you shouldn’t have to/be able to hold on to the mouse to move it.
- The hand should rest on the mouse in a neutral position – all research concludes the hand should sit at an angle of between 25 and 30 degrees.
- The hand and arm should be supported in places where the body and tissue are biologically designed to support the weight – the membrane of the palm and the fatty tissue on the underside of the forearm are good for this.
The HandShoe Mouse is an example of the only ergonomic mouse currently on the market that was designed off the back of peer reviewed university research. The above factors, and many more, were all considered during the design of this mouse. The resulting design, when tested in the tax offices in The Netherlands was that every member of staff that was out of work with mouse complaints were able to come back into work again while working with the mouse.
Although it can be time consuming to find, there is a great deal of research supporting very specific ergonomic mouse designs. Much of this research can be found on our publications page (https://handshoemouse.com/publications/) and is largely third-party material.