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:
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.
This information was sent to Hippus by a HandShoe Mouse user, who gave us permission to publish it on our website:
I wanted to share with you some possibly useful experience of the use of the HandShoe Mouse as a sufferer of Dupuytren’s Contracture.
Both my brother and I have Dupuytren and, as my brother is 12 years older than I am, his condition has progressed over a decade ahead of mine. I am now 54, and whilst it is only about 5-6 years since I discovered what the condition was, I can trace back the first appearance of the small nodules maybe 8-9 years. We have both found the condition beginning in the little fingers of each hand and then to some extent on other fingers.
My older brother developed the condition during an extended period living and working abroad, and when he returned some 4 years ago he was at a stage where he began to require medical intervention. He has had two rounds of Xiaflex treatment on both hands, but the condition recurred, especially on his right hand, on which he has since had surgery. As my own condition was gradually developing I became especially interested in the advice he was being given to prevent recurrence, including the use of splints overnight, all of advice aims at keeping the fingers straight as much as possible.
Originally the problem had been worse on my left hand than on my right, but as I persisted with gentle stretching exercises and in taking care to keep my fingers extended as much as possible, the left hand not only stopped getting worse but actually improved significantly, to the point where I can now easily fully straighten all the fingers on this hand. Meanwhile, my right hand continued to worsen, with the little finger impossible to straighten.
Not wishing to undergo invasive therapies if avoidable, I decided to try a spot of experimentation. The one obvious thing that my right hand does that my left doesn’t is to hold a computer mouse for many hours every week. I use a mouse for probably 6 hours out of each 8 hour working day, and I also use a mouse outside of work when using a computer for my own interests, including research and writing as a freelance theatre critic. I figured that the action of gripping and pinching the mouse keeps the fingers (especially the worst-affected little finger) constantly bent, and the number of hours involved gives no opportunity to straighten them properly.
I scoured the market to find a mouse that would allow the fingers to lie straight and decided that the HandShoe mouse might be worth a try. As I had no medical evidence to back this up, I couldn’t in fairness expect my employer to get me one so I bought it myself, and I have now been using it for about 12 weeks.
After the first week I already felt less discomfort in my hand at the end of a working day and after just 2 weeks I began to notice that I was better able to uncurl my fingers. After a month I was able, with effort, to straighten the hand with only about a 10 degree bend left in the little finger.
I have explained this all to my employer and they have agreed to buy me one for work use, so that I don’t have to keep taking my own mouse back and forth from home. My brother is also very interested, as he still works full time and his work as a design engineer involves a lot of CAD, which is very mouse-intensive. He is looking into trying a HandShoe mouse too.
I know that all the above is anecdotal, and with no medical data attached, but I felt that my experience may be of interest to you. It seems to me that the design of the HandShoe mouse, enabling the hand to sit in a relaxed, extended position, makes perfect sense for management of Dupuytren. Whilst it can’t be considered a cure, it certainly helps to compliment the recommended routine of trying to keep the fingers extended as much as possible. If I do need to have medical treatment in future, I’m sure that this mouse will help to reduce or slow down the probability of recurrence.
I hope that my experience is of interest to you, and that others with the Dupuytren condition may benefit from the use of the product too.Hippus N.V.
(Name of author is known by Hippus N.V.)