Is my trackpad hurting my finger pads?
December 20, 2010 4:01 PM   Subscribe

Often my fingertips seem tender and a bit worn, which seems to have something to do with my computer usage. Is this normal!? Is this a trackpad-related injury? Any remedies?
posted by KLF to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
This happens to me as well on occasion. Either take a break from the computer, or if that's not possible I would recommend getting a mouse. You could plug it in when your fingertips need a rest.

Best of luck!
posted by too bad you're not me at 4:13 PM on December 20, 2010

This also happens to me and taking a break from the computer has been my only remedy. I doubt there's much else to do other than getting a mouse.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 4:17 PM on December 20, 2010

I've never had this happen, and I use track pads all the time. But, you could try wrapping a layer of tissue around your finger and seeing if that helps.
posted by anaelith at 4:26 PM on December 20, 2010

Yeah this happens to me as well. I thought it was from how hot my track pad was getting. My only solution was to get a mouse.
posted by lilkeith07 at 4:47 PM on December 20, 2010

It might be. I don't use a trackpad, but I am on the computer all day and type *a lot*. My fingertips sometimes feel a bit "tired" lol
I'd just take a break from the computer for a while, maybe get a decent wireless mouse.
posted by joyeuxamelie at 5:00 PM on December 20, 2010

Have you tried moisturizer? At least in the winter, my hands get very dry and cracked, and using a computer tends to focus the damage on the (edges of the) pads of a few fingers. Moisturizing daily helps that greatly (though I really hate the greasy feeling of most decent moisturizers, and aloe alone doesn't always suffice).

I would also consider any side-habits you may have, such as rubbing something around your desk with your fingertips - I tend to stab my palm with my pencil (yeah, I know, sounds weird), which has on more than one occasion worn a small hole through the skin there.
posted by pla at 5:02 PM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Rubber Finger Tips. I've used these when I've beat the crap out of my hands on a keyboard and trackpad. Available in most office stores.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 5:22 PM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

You should learn how to play the guitar. It'll make you some mean calluses! At first your fingertips will be even more sensitive to the keyboard, however...
posted by Glendale at 5:44 PM on December 20, 2010

It could be your trackpad - have you tried very gently cleaning it? It could also be something else. Do you use those Mister Clean Magic Erasers? Because even though it doesn't seem like it, if you use them without gloves you're basically micro-abrading your skin right off. I used one to scour a bathtub and although I only really touched the scrubby side with the tips of my fingers, the next day they were all raw and tender.

It'll help your skin repair faster if you moisturize no matter what. For my hands I really like the old standby Lubriderm, which isn't greasy or weirdly smelly and gets absorbed into my skin very quickly. If your hands are clean and smooth, it will cut down on the friction between trackpad and finger, too.
posted by Mizu at 5:48 PM on December 20, 2010

I've had this happen with trackpads (primarily on my index finger). As a result, I hate them and use a mouse instead whenever possible, coupled with keyboard shortcuts to keep the mousing down. Personally, I like my computer interaction to be as keyboard-heavy as possible, because it doesn't cause me the same weird discomfort.

Maybe shortcuts are the answer for you -- they are free, speed you up, and you carry them in your head instead of your laptop bag.
posted by fake at 6:34 PM on December 20, 2010

It depends on where specifically you're feeling tender. If it's right up against the nail, it could be a nail trimming problem. My fingertips seem to chafe easily if I trim my fingernails too short.

If it's more on the sides, I'd suggest moisturizer because the skin may be preparing to crack.

If it's on the actual striking surface of the finger, then it could be from typing. I get that sometimes if I'm writing a lot more than usual, or if I'm typing more vigorously. If you're a two-fingered typist, learning how to type properly will help spread the abuse across all your fingers!
posted by ErikaB at 7:12 PM on December 20, 2010

I know someone who ended up using a Pogo Stylus to help with trackpad-related pain. She seems pretty comfortable and dextrous with it.
posted by mph at 8:31 PM on December 20, 2010

I normally use a model m buckling spring keyboard. Every time I'm forced to use those ridiculous dome keyboards (IE: practically every mass market keyboard) within hours my finger tips are killing me.
posted by Mitheral at 1:02 AM on December 21, 2010

Is the issue that the skin is looking reddened and even cracking slightly? I don't mean actually bleeding but flaking a bit? If so you've got old-fahioned housewife's dermatitis, simple overuse. It can get worse and if one of them cracks & bleeds it easily becomes infected so I would try anything before it gets to that stage. This is usually preceeded by them feeling hot and itchy as well.
It took 9 months for mine to resolve. Believe it or not slathering on a hand mosturizer at night and a tiny bit of hydrocortizone 1% wearing cotton gloves improved them enough to stop useing the hydracortizone and just use the moisturiser.

If they just feel hot & achy and there are no skin issues ignore the above!
posted by Wilder at 3:02 AM on December 21, 2010

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