How to eliminate pain associated with mouse clicking?
October 10, 2005 11:18 AM   Subscribe

How have people prevented and recovered from Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) of the fingers caused mainly by mouse clicking?

My hand hurts. Like many of us I spend all day working on computers then I come home from work and spend more time on a computer. Usually playing games like World of Warcraft. I am considering this: but the problem is the company that makes them is out of business and the prices of the remaining stock are up to $200 each! Has anyone used one? Has anyone tried the foot pedal mouse buttons: ? What else has helped people with problems caused by clicking the mouse?

I've already tried using software to re-map mouse clicks to keyboard keys. For some uses it works very well but not for gaming. Also, now my left hand hurts a bit from using CTRL and ALT as left and right mouse buttons causing me to hold my left hand in a different position than when I type.
posted by J-Garr to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
I got a graphics tablet and pen. Touching the pen to the surface of the tablet is one click, squeezing the pen tip is a double click.
posted by 4easypayments at 11:33 AM on October 10, 2005

Sorta-kinda. I've taken to left-handed mousing (I'm right-handed), which does appear to help relieve my right wrist, which is far more painful. Also, I've stopped playing volleyball -- as a hitter (spiker), I'm thinking the volleyball-on-wrist flailings must have exacerbated the problem.
posted by LordSludge at 11:34 AM on October 10, 2005

this mouse helped my friends and I reduce this problem. its a lot better for the wrist, not sure about the fingers though.
posted by alkupe at 11:36 AM on October 10, 2005

Aside from getting up and taking breaks:

1) I use a trackball. It's easier on my hand but YMMV.

2) I switch to a tablet every now and then. Some tablets come with mice, so if you have the space, the tablet can replace your mousepad and you can switch between mouse and pen as the mood/need suits you.

3) I've have a good degree of ambidexterity and frequently use my off-hand when I'm doing non-graphic work. For me, this requires an ambidextrous trackball.

On preview, looks like I'm not so odd for #3.
posted by Sangre Azul at 11:39 AM on October 10, 2005

Here's what worked for me:

1 - Stop playing computer games altogether.

2 - Quit mousing altogether. I now use a Kensington Expert Mouse Trackball and swap back and forth every couple of days.

3 - Touch type. If I start getting lazy and begin to hunt and peck, things start hurting.

Here's what didn't work:

1 - Foot pedals of any sort. They just move the pain from the hands to the lower back.

2 - Wacom Tablet. A whole new location for RSI to kick in! Joy!

3 - Continuing computer use at pre-RSI levels. When it's all said and done, you're gonna have to change your computer habits. If you can't quit playing WoW altogether, you'll have to at least cut down drastically.

There was a while when I could not use any kind of pointer device without pain. I ended up getting Dragon Naturally Speaking (a voice recog program) and used it for several months until my hands healed. The ambidextrous trackball method was the only thing that worked and even then I don't play any sort of computer game anymore.
posted by Rubber Soul at 11:51 AM on October 10, 2005

There's a program called MouseTool which clicks the mouse for you whenever you hover it over something clickable for a few moments. I used it a few years ago and found it useful, although it looks like it's no longer free.

Unfortunately, it would be useless for gaming.
posted by callmejay at 11:54 AM on October 10, 2005

I switched over to a trackball (Logitech Trackman Wheel at work, cordless version at home) and -all- the pain in my joints, from pointerfinger to shoulder disappeared within a couple weeks. That was over a year ago and I'm extremely happy with the change.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:02 PM on October 10, 2005

  1. Avoid using the mouse when possible, use the keyboard instead
  2. Adjust the height of your seat or desk, I find the angle of my elbow while working with the mouse greatly influences whether my hand gets sore

posted by fvw at 12:31 PM on October 10, 2005

When I was diagnosed with RSI in my right arm about a year ago I switched from right handed mousing to left handed mousing and have gotten so good at the left hand version that I can even use it for graphics. I also went and got a wrist brace and wore it every night. The nurse told me to get a custom one made but that was $$$ so I just got the $15 black one at the drugstore. Apparently what you want is one with a splint in it that holds your hand up a little from the wrist. Now my right arm has healed enough where I can go back and forth sometimes, and I try to alternate.

Hate to be the bearer of bad news but I also cut the gaming way, way down - sorry - it got easier eventually. I tried a left handed track ball for a while but didn't like it much - YM of course MV.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:31 PM on October 10, 2005

Really work at learning the keyboard shortcuts for the programs you use most often. It's more efficient and saves your hands.
posted by theora55 at 2:49 PM on October 10, 2005

Thanks for the answers everyone. A lot of the suggestions are for things I already try to do but now realize I need to try harder. I've always been a big fan of keyboard shortcuts over using the mouse so I've got that one down petty good. I just ordered a snazzy wrist brace thing, the kind that has a splint in it. Several others at work use and love them.

Another thing I've decided to try is switching from QWERTY to DVORAK. Using the keyboard doesn't hurt me at all right now but I figure I should work on changing my bad habits before they start to cause me pain. Had I started looking for a solution to my wrist/finger problem sooner I'm sure I'd be in less pain right now.

And of course, I do realize that I should cut down on my game playing time. That or find a game that requires less clicking. Thanks again to all for reminding me of these simple things I can do.
posted by J-Garr at 3:07 PM on October 10, 2005

Instead of the Dvorak layout, you might want to consider the Asetion keyboard layout.
posted by Sharcho at 4:46 PM on October 10, 2005

Get a wrist brace like this or this.

I've tried all kinds of wrist braces - the stiff ones (splint or supportive) or the kind you can adjust to be slightly tight work the best. Wear it for a few days or weeks any time you're on the computer. It leaves your fingers free so that's not a problem. It might be a pain to use your mouse but it always makes my wrist pain go away.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:43 PM on October 10, 2005

I'll second the graphics tablet and pen. It just feels more natural than a mouse... causing less stress.
posted by lorbus at 9:28 PM on October 10, 2005

Are you consuming enough flax seed oil? Essential fats reduce inflammation and protect nerves and are not manufactured by the body... do all of the above and take 3 grams of flax seed oil a day with meals.

Plus go to a doctor, but don't get surgery.
posted by ewkpates at 6:48 AM on October 11, 2005

seriously, look at that mouse i linked to above. my friends are serious gamers and its really helped.
posted by alkupe at 9:02 AM on October 11, 2005

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