How to Correctly Use a Mouse (and Avoid Carpal Tunnel)

Using a computer mouse may not seem dangerous, but potentially wrist-driven actions repeated thousands and thousands of times have the potential to cause carpal tunnel syndrome. If you are the type to use a computer heavily, you face both a high risk for injury and the greatest impact should injury occur. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take.

Using the Right Parts

email phishing hookThe main area prone to injury through mouse use is the wrist, which is why the wrist should be used as little as possible. Moving the mouse should be gentle, driven by the elbow and shoulders. Using a mouse isn’t making your wrist stronger; it’s creating a danger of strain through repetition of unnatural movement. When you use your elbow and should instead of the wrist, the chance for injury drops significantly.

Proper Hand Placement

Unfortunately, of the most problematic mouse placement setups is also the most common. You want to avoid pressure on the wrist, so when using a mouse, your wrist should not be flat on a desk surface.

You may have seen wrist rests. These only offer a softer, squishier surface, but still keep pressure where it shouldn’t be.

The base of the palm has the greatest ability to withstand the pressure of the hand’s weight. Make sure your hand rests on this base instead of the wrist.

Proper Hand + Mouse Placement

While it’s very common to have a mouse next to a keyboard, the farther it is to the side, the greater the risk of injury, as the hand is turned and you’re more likely to involve the wrist instead of the elbow. There are mouse platforms available that go above the num pad. With a properly oriented chair, these platforms are ideal, must as they are uncommon.

Choosing a Mouse

See if the mouse feels comfortable in a relaxed hand. If you have to contort your wrist to use it, it’s not a good option. Symmetrical mice work fine, and larger ones will strain the wrist less than smaller ones.

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