need ergonomic right handed mouse for arthritis/tendinitis in rt thumb
December 30, 2014 5:50 PM   Subscribe

I love my wired stationary trackball mouse but I can't use it anymore. Too much thumb action. Since May 2014, I have had tendinitis in my left ring finger, arthritis in my right thumb and now arthritis/tendinitis in my right thumb, OT didn't help and I wear thumb splints on both hands. I will strongly consider acupuncture starting in January 2015. Yikes! I keyboard all day at work. I will go to any lengths to avoid surgery. Orthopedic hand specialist can't guarantee that problem won't come back after surgery if I go back to the same job.

Retirement? Too young. Haven't been paying in to it long enough. Would get full medical benefits but very little monthly income.

Long term disability? I have been paying in to it for 7 years. Ortho will support it but he has warned me that insurance company and their attorneys will fight me every step of the way.

Next step: Finding the right mouse to make my job more tolerable.

Recommendations made to me:
*MS Natural Wireless Laser Mouse & keyboard 7000 (but I don't need the keyboard)
*MS Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 (but price is similar to 7000 mouse & keyboard combo)
*Any Evoluent vertical mouse

Any thoughts?


posted by htm to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You might look at the Anker mice if you want to try a vertical mouse without dropping a bunch of money on the evoluent.

Anecdotally, I've found no single mouse that fixed my RSI; variety is what's helped me the most - I alternate between a left handed trackpad and a right handed vertical mouse.
posted by revertTS at 6:15 PM on December 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

I use the evoluent. It worked perfectly for me and allowed my RSI to heal. The position is comfortable, you can program shortcuts to cut down on the number of clicks, and the high resolution sensor means you can keep your hand movements small and avoid reaching uncomfortably. Highly recommended.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:34 PM on December 30, 2014

Thanks much, reverTS and Htwrt! I am glad you both found something that worked!

I have ordered and returned several mice through Amazon and had to pay the return shipping fees.

I'm thinking about going to Fry's or Best Buy and trying those mice out at the store, if possible. They would be easier to return, I'm assuming, if they don't work out. I hope they carry both the Anker and the Evoluent.
posted by htm at 6:54 PM on December 30, 2014

You might also look at Trackpoint, aka eraser mouse. It's a bit counter-intuitive... seems like it'd strain one's index finger, but for me, gripping a mouse or track ball requires so much more pressure, causing much more tension and eventually pain. I've purchased a few IBM and Lenovo keyboards that I use with various desktop machines (PS/2, USB, and bluetooth).
posted by at at 7:42 PM on December 30, 2014

I switched to my left hand and use the evoluent mouse at work. The anker vertical mouse is pretty good for the price but the evoluent one is easier to use imho. You might also want to try dictation programs or using dictation on your phone more. Here's a link to when I asked a question about my mousing issues in case that is helpful!

Good luck!!
posted by NikitaNikita at 8:05 PM on December 30, 2014

Have you tried the Marble Mouse? It's kind of weirdly named but it's actually a trackball. I had really bad RSI until I started using it. I was at the point where I was trying Wacom tablets and things like that to find something that works. Now I have an ergonomic keyboard, a standing desk, and a marble mouse and I've been pain free for years. I think the key to the Marble Mouse is that you can adopt a posture where your wrist is neutral and your hand basically sort of flops on top of the trackball. You will use your thumb for clicking, but it's more of a squeezing gesture and doesn't seem to bother.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:06 PM on December 30, 2014

Use a Wacom tablet. You can find them well under $100. Is there a learning curve? Yes. But it's not as bad as people think. It only took me about a week to get used to it (I picked a slow time at work to get accustomed to it). Now when I have to use a mouse, it feels like pushing a brick around while wearing oven mitts.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 8:08 PM on December 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, if this is a work related use of the ergonomic mouse, and you work in a corporate/non-self-employed setting, will your work pay for it? Larger organizations often have an ergonomic expert and they may have samples you can try and test out.
posted by NikitaNikita at 8:08 PM on December 30, 2014

A few more thoughts. I think the key is keeping your wrists and hand in a neutral posture. There's no mouse out there that allows this unless you get into the really exotic stuff like Kinesis, which is also worth a look if you're really desperate. 90% of my cursor movement is done with the palm of my hand or the very tops of my fingers, I only pull my hand back and use my fingertips when I need fine detail, which is pretty rare because you get good at tossing the cursor around to the right location pretty quickly.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:09 PM on December 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I switched to using a Microsoft trackball years ago (it is no longer made, alas) because mice hurt too much. Recently the trackball started causing me pain. Now I'm using a trackpad, Magic Mouse and occasionally the trackball. On bad days I use the trackpad left handed for simple stuff. Switching input methods cuts down on the repetitive part of rsi and is helping a lot. With your thumb problems the mouse and trackball may not help, but maybe a trackpad and a Wacom? Or a touch screen?

Hope this helps, good luck!
posted by DrumsIntheDeep at 9:21 PM on December 30, 2014

I have a Razer Naga Molten and a Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate. The keyboard is great and the mouse only rarely gave me problems (never in my thumb, and always posture-related). I did disable the lighting on the number pad and the scroll wheel because they heated the mouse too much.

At the office I have a Razer BlackWidow Tournament Stealth (Tournament because the weird one-size-fits-all desk situation there made mousing off to the side somehow a big deal; Stealth only as a concession to weird people who don't like hearing normal typing sounds, but then again I grew up with a Model M grin) and an Evoluent VerticalMouse 4 (right-handed, large size). The keyboard's fine but for only 3 usable keys on the lower right of the main key bank. The mouse is great though: it took some getting used to; walking up and quickly using the mouse from a standing position is near-impossible, which can be good or bad depending on how you look at it; it's weird having the side of your hand rather than bottom of your wrist constantly brushing the desk, and your pisiform can end up hurting if you don't avoid resting your weight on it; the thumbrest area can get a little warm to the touch.

I tried the Penguin Mouse but wasn't impressed.

For mobile I got a Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX (and another, after the first one got stolen) and stick with the ThinkPad keyboard (the proper classic style, not the terrible new island style). The mouse is a bit small and the middle button's in a weird place but the grip is okay. I've flirted with the Performance MX which has a better grip but wasn't sure if it let you get a normal clicky scroll wheel (it does) and if the middle button's as stiff as the display. Also it doesn't come with a travel pouch and is a bit bulkier. I should really give it a proper try though.

The Naga Epic and a lot of other gaming mice (such as many of the R.A.T. line from Mad Catz, and ooh, I see they have some wireless mobile options so I may need to check those out) let you adjust the grip and sometimes the weight weight. If I'm tempted by anything for the desktop at home though it's the Contour Mouse.

Incidentally, don't discount your seating (I have a Mirra with all the options at home), your desk height, your posture, or the way you hold your mouse and type.
posted by vsync at 9:33 PM on December 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

You don't mention what specific trackball you have. I've been using a Kensington Expert Mouse since the 1990s with a wrist pad in front of it mostly as a reminder to keep my wrist in neutral position. The buttons are all customizable so if you want to avoid using your thumb you can. The best feature for me is that the trackball movement doesn't strain my fingers, it is weighted perfectly for both wide travel and precise pointing.
posted by girlhacker at 11:01 PM on December 30, 2014

I've used this SHARKK ergonomic mouse to relieve some occasional wrist pain. It's quite comfortable, and very inexpensive, so even if it doesn't work for you, it won't break the bank.

One other thing you might try is using speech recognition to supplement/replace mouse usage.
posted by Aleyn at 1:49 AM on December 31, 2014

I switched to the Evoluent and it completely eliminated elbow pain I was having.
posted by conrad53 at 5:32 AM on December 31, 2014

I also know several people who use a Wacom tablet to help with various hand and wrist issues associate with mouse use. As mentioned above, there is a learning curve, but it not that bad. Some of them are also touch-sensitive so you don't have to hold the stylus for everything.

One friend also used a joystick-style mouse similar to this one to help with hand and wrist pain.
posted by thejanna at 6:57 AM on December 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's really not that hard to switch to left-handed mousing. The first hour or so is rough; after that, your brain adjusts. I did it for a while when playing Warcraft was giving me epic "tennis" elbow on the right. I didn't even get a different mouse, just moved the one I had over - but it wasn't a thumb trackball, so in your case a new mouse would be in order. The evolulent referenced many times above looks great for you!
posted by kythuen at 9:10 AM on December 31, 2014

+1 for a Wacom pen. I switched some 13 years ago after years of painful wrists and different kinds of mice. Now I'm much faster with a pen. Nice addition: if you do any kind of Photoshop: a pen device is pressure sensitive, so awesome for drawing. Try doing that with a mouse. Give yourself at least a week and soon you will never look back. Good luck!
posted by hz37 at 1:53 PM on December 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

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