Ergonomic Mouse suggestions?
July 13, 2006 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Any suggestions for a good ergonomic mouse for my computer? Can be wired or wireless (I have a PC.) Tendonitis in my hand, wrist, arm is killing me!!
posted by psususe to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Evoluent Vertical Mouse. Like all ergonomic doohickies, I'd suggest trying one first, but I use one and it works great for my tendonitus. YMMV, but they've got a money-back guarantee,
posted by stet at 6:59 AM on July 13, 2006

If you're tendonitis is only in your right hand, I suggest you find a left-hand mouse to use while you give your right time to heal. Metafilter is fun, but it's not worth lasting damage on your body.

You might also check out the Logitech Trackman Wheel
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:01 AM on July 13, 2006

I second the Logitech Trackman Wheel. I've found it very comfortable, and it saves desk space too.

Also, if you haven't done it, I suggest going to see a physical therapist. I went to a doctor and a hand surgeon about my problem before finally going to see a physical therapist. She diagnosed my problem in 10 minutes of watching me type, and I was cured a week later, just by changing my typing habits.

Prior to that I had read everything I could find on ergonomics, RSI, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. There was so much information available on those topics I assumed it applied to me. Then it turned out I didn't have any of those things.

So just in case you haven't tried that yet, it's worth it.
posted by lockedroomguy at 7:13 AM on July 13, 2006

The rollermouse saved my frickin' life. They're about ~$100. I heart mine.
posted by bhance at 7:26 AM on July 13, 2006

(sorry, here's the rollermouse USA sales link)
posted by bhance at 7:27 AM on July 13, 2006

I use a mouse at home and a trackball at work. I less frequently use the trackpad on my laptop and my Wacom tablet. Wacom has a study on their site, Comparison of Postures from Pen and Mouse Use that might be of use. I find that by varying my input devices, I lessen the repetitiveness of any one set of motions.

On a tangential note, I'm also a Dvorak keyboard nutball. I switched because even 'ergonomic' QWERTY keyboards were making my hands ache. My wrists and hands seldom ache from typing these days.
posted by elderling at 7:30 AM on July 13, 2006

I also use a Logitech Trackman Wheel and have eliminated early signs of repetitive stress injury.

Now if they could just come out with a Bluetooth trackball, my inner dork would be happy.
posted by theredpen at 7:47 AM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

My strategy has been to learn all possible keyboard shortcuts, especially since I'm always on the road with a trackpad and no mouse. In a well-written program, the vast majority of functions can be accessed via keyboard, including buttons and popup menus. Also get used to using both hands for mousing. I feel the Dvorak keyboard also has helped---not to ignite the old religious war. I wouldn't say it's made me faster, but it is easier.
posted by maniabug at 8:25 AM on July 13, 2006

Kensington Expert Mouse. 'Nuff said.
posted by blag at 8:35 AM on July 13, 2006

I love that Logitech Trackman. It saved me when I had tendonitis in my right wrist in late high school/early college. The thumb trackball takes getting used to but once you're good with it you're golden.
posted by waxbanks at 8:51 AM on July 13, 2006

Related AskMeFi thread.

Although the question pertained to Adobe Illustrator and Wacom Tablets, the poster included Lately my hand and wrist has been killing me so I know I've got to make some changes... so the answers included discussion about ergonomics.

It is interesting to note that one person in the thread believed the Wacom tablets put more stress on hand than a mouse but that has not been my experience...
posted by cup at 9:12 AM on July 13, 2006

i use a kensington expert mouse and it helps tremendously
posted by paradroid at 9:18 AM on July 13, 2006

I also use a Kensington Expert Mouse (which is a trackball) plus a regular Microsoft mouse, one each side of the keyboard and both connected at the same time. This is possible when the mouse has a "PS2" type of connection, while the trackball uses a USB connection. Being able to use either hand, and use different movements, pretty much cured my previously bad RSI.

I usually have the mouse on the left and trackball on the right, but don't switch the mouse buttons, so it's easy to swap position for either or both mouse and trackball. That way muscles and tendons all get a chance to rest. It took only a short time to get used to working a "right-handed" mouse with the left hand, though I'm still less efficient using the trackball with my left hand.
posted by anadem at 9:26 AM on July 13, 2006

I second the Evoluent Vertical Mouse. Hey stet!

A co-worker of mine got one of these the other day, so I got to play around with it a bit. It's very comfortable, and I'm pretty well sold on it, except for the small issue that the left-handed version costs $20 more than the right-handed version (some say market forces, I say a conspiracy against my people, the south paws).

The first thing I noticed when using it was that I could actually feel less constriction in my wrist as opposed to the regular mouse I'd just been using. It had that same "ahhhhh" sensation you get when you loosen your tie.

It's also got the advantage of being functionally identical to a regular mouse, so you don't have to re-learn anything.
posted by Hildago at 9:29 AM on July 13, 2006

I don't use my wacom tablets much on my desktops, but when I bought a convertible tablet-PC, I started using that as my primary computer, (I mainly just use it as a laptop with a pen instead of a trackpad or mouse, I don't use the other tablet-PC features much), and I noticed a reduction in pain from spending less time with a mouse and more with a pen. Some situations a mouse is easier, so having the choice helps.

Cheap tablets are so cheap these days (a few tens of dollars) you don't lose much by trying one out.

(Tablet-PCs are cheaper too, but they're still a premium over basic laptops :)
posted by -harlequin- at 9:52 AM on July 13, 2006

Ditto Kensington Expert Mouse (which is a trackball, not a mouse.) Mice are the tools of the Committee to Promoto RSI. And then learn all the keyboard shortcuts and minimize use of the trackball, too.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:14 AM on July 13, 2006

I've been dealing with hand & wrist pain on and off for a while, this bout is going on week 3. I have the Logitech trackball and just switched to it yesterday and it definitely helped, I don't know why I didn't switch sooner. Now, after seeing this thread and the vertical mouse, I put some bubblewrap under it to tip it about 45 degrees and it's an even bigger improvement. Hmmm...does a vertical trackball exist?
posted by krix at 11:57 AM on July 13, 2006

One data point: when I had CTS (hooray for surgery), using a trackball didn't help in the long term to relieve my symptoms. After a couple of months, I just developed pain in the finger that was manipulating the trackball. Food for thought.
posted by Hildago at 2:16 PM on July 13, 2006

best thing you can do to defeat RSI, is something to do with software rather than hardware. Download Autohotkey and create keyboard shortcuts for nearly everything. You'll barely touch your mouse/trackball.
Add PC-COM and you can launch anything/find anything again without reaching for your mouse.
posted by jak68 at 2:19 AM on July 14, 2006

I neglected my usual spiel... ergonomic equipment is much better than non-ergonomic equipment, but you can injure yourself with any equipment. If you're already injured, you need to look to making wholesale changes to lot your body recover.

Eat right, sleep enough, avoid stress.

Look to avoiding or ameliorating the effects of all the things hurting you, not just computer use.

Take breaks from the computer every half hour (for already-injured people; every hour for the healthy). This is absolutely key.

Hildago, what kind of trackball were you using? I would recommend against any of the ones designed to be used by your thumb or a single finger as vociferously as I do against mice -- I only recommend the Kensington Expert Mouse with a billiard ball sized trackball you can use with the heel of your hand, and the motion coming from your shoulder.

Here's an article I wrote a few years ago that I always post when this comes up...
posted by Zed_Lopez at 7:31 AM on July 14, 2006

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