Normally when we think of ergonomics we tend to picture fancy office chairs with plenty of lumbar support and cushions. But ergonomics extends far past your post and what you sit on. It’s about increasing productivity without compromising your physical and mental wellbeing.
When you sit at our desk, your posture may be the first thing you notice. But as the day progresses, your hand may become sore and cramped, and it might be time to invest in an ergonomic mouse.
How does an ergonomic mouse work? Is it worth getting one? Here’s everything you need to know about ergonomic mouses!
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How Does an Ergonomic Mouse Work?
The first thing you’ll notice about an ergonomic mouse is its shape. Traditional computer mouses are compact half-ovals. You wrap your fingers around them and rest your palm on the top of the mouse.
An ergonomic mouse works a bit differently. The design acknowledges that curling your fingers for eight hours a day isn’t very healthy. Instead, it allows you to gently rest your open hand on the flat, wide mouse. There is even a slot for your thumb so it isn’t left resting on the firm desk for the whole day.
An ergonomic mouse gives every finger a space. Like a traditional mouse, the buttons are controlled by your index and middle finger. This means that there isn’t a learning period when switching over to an ergonomic mouse.
How Do You Use an Ergonomic Mouse?
You can still get wrist and finger pain from an ergonomic mouse. The trick is to use it properly.
To start, you should never firmly grip your ergonomic mouse. Ergonomics is all about long-term health and usage. Gripping your mouse tightly will ensure that your hand gets tired quickly, defeating the purpose of investing in the new technology.
Instead, gently grasp the ergonomic mouse. Most of these mouses allow you to lay your hand over the device. There should be no substantial tension in your hand; this includes your thumb, which should be content resting on the side of the mouse.
Like when using a traditional mouse, one side of your wrist will be touching your desk. It is important that this is done gently. You do not want to be bearing all your hand’s weight on that side of your arm.
To avoid this, ensure that your hand isn’t bent over to one side too much. Ergonomic mouses are meant to be supportive, so let them support you! With that being said, you should still rely on your wrist to some extent. Your pinky finger can also offer some degree of support.
You also need to be mindful of your elbow position. It should be bent 90 degrees. This allows you to comfortably use the mouse without straining your shoulder or arm. It also gives your wrist better mobility.
Finally, and most importantly, take breaks! Our bodies aren’t designed to be in an unnatural seating position for eight hours a day. Stretch your hands and body every hour or so. This isn’t just good for your physical health; it refreshes your mind. We all know the feeling of being emotionally overworked. Sometimes all we need is a few minutes to think empty thoughts before getting back to work.
Does an Ergonomic Mouse Actually Help?
Yes! An ergonomic mouse is an essential addition to any productive workspace. Individuals who regularly use ergonomic mouses will have more comfortable and productive work hours. Here are a few ways an ergonomic mouse can change your workweek.
Putting strain on any part of your body can cause fatigue. The repetitive motion of clicking and moving a mouse around may not burn a ton of calories, but it will put unnecessary strain on your muscles and tendons.
An ergonomic mouse makes that feel more natural. You don’t need to distort your hand as much to get the same amount of work done, thus reducing fatigue.
The device also serves as a friendly reminder to check in with your body regularly. Like an ergonomic office chair, it’s only as helpful as you make it. You should consistently be checking it with how much pressure you’re putting on your wrist and pinky finger. The difference with an ergonomic mouse is that it makes avoiding strain a lot more comfortable and convenient.
Less Wrist Twisting
A traditional computer mouse requires you to distort your wrist to get a good grip on the device. On the other hand, an ergonomic mouse takes the slight curve of your hand into account.
If you hold your arm straight in front of you with your hand relaxed, your hand should gently curve inwards. This means that the perfect mouse doesn’t make your hand rest in an unnaturally stiff position.
A sore wrist can make day-to-day tasks difficult and painful. No one should have to compromise their entire day because of their job, and with an ergonomic mouse, you don’t have to.
Are you prone to hand or wrist injuries? Then you need to get an ergonomic mouse!
Because an ergonomic mouse takes the pressure and reduces strain, it will keep your hand happy. Similar to an ergonomic office chair, an ergonomic mouse keeps your hand in a neutral position. That means that you should barely notice how much you’re using your mouse at the end of the day (but that doesn’t mean you get to not check in with yourself regularly).
Good for Arthritis
An ergonomic mouse is great for individuals struggling with arthritis. Holding objects can be difficult when you have mobility issues and while you don’t technically hold onto a traditional mouse, you do wrap most of your hand around it.
Because your hand is relatively flat when using an ergonomic mouse, it’s great for people with arthritis. Just make sure you have the right sized mouse, otherwise you risk injuring yourself or simply not getting the most out of your device.
How to Use a Traditional Mouse Ergonomically
Let’s say that you don’t have access to an ergonomic mouse or you aren’t prepared to make the purchase just yet. The good news is you can still make the most out of your traditional mouse.
To start, do not hold the mouse firmly. This may take some getting used to, but we guarantee it will make a world of difference. You still should be able to control the mouse very well without tightly holding it.
Mouses aren’t very heavy, so get used to moving it around without holding onto it as much.
Your arm should be relatively close to your torso. This will limit the amount of strain you put on your shoulder. Sit at a table and put your hand in front of you with your arms by your side. Now bring your arms out while keeping your hands in the same position. You naturally slump forward a bit and put more pressure on your shoulders and arms, which we don’t want when working all day.
Make sure you aren’t relying on the mouse (and the area surrounding the mouse) to support your wrists. By doing so, you put less pressure on different parts of your arm, thus making the experience more comfortable.
Pressure build up is never pleasant and can be avoided by taking regular breaks. Take your hand off your mouse now and then and stretch your hands by wiggling your fingers and rotating your wrist.
If you suspect you may have injured yourself through prolonged mouse usage, don’t just “push through it”. Listen to your body and reexamine how you’re holding onto your mouse.
The easiest way to do this is to note which part of your hand is the most sore then see where it’s located when using the mouse. You might be putting too much pressure on it or unknowingly tightening the muscles throughout the day.
You can also consider how stress impacts your mouse usage. Do you grip the mouse harder on stressful days? If so, then you should be extra cautious about your mouse usage when you aren’t feeling very good mentally.
This may look like writing a friendly reminder on a sticky-note that you stick on the edge of your monitor to loosen your grip. But you can get creative and do whatever works best for you!
Wrapping Things Up
Ergonomic mouses are not a frivolous purchase. For many, they can decide whether they can finish their workweek with carpal tunnel or plenty of energy to enjoy weekend activities.
We care about our posture, so why don’t we care about our hand health? In many ways, they are two sides of the same coin.
An ergonomic mouse will ensure that you are productive but pain-free. It’s a great investment, especially if you already suffer from arthritis or hand injuries. Just make sure to get one with a dedicated space for your thumb!
Have you had a chance to try an ergonomic mouse yet? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!