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Ten tips for using a computer mouse

Carol Adkins, Director of Berkshire Physiotherapy Centre

 

Are you sitting comfortably?

Probably not! So let me begin…

The following tips should help you avoid a mouse-related musculoskeletal injury.

  1. Mouse grip. Don’t throttle your mouse (it’s already dead)! Hold the mouse gently to move it.
  2. Mouse from the elbow. Don’t skate or flick the mouse with your wrist.
  3. Optimal mouse position. Sit back in your chair, relax your arms, then lift your mouse hand up, pivoting at the elbow, until your hand is just above elbow level. Your mouse should be positioned somewhere around this point.
  4. Protect your wrist. If you look at the anatomy of the wrist, it is curved away from any contact surface. The forearm is shaped liked this for the wrist to remain free of surface pressure contact.
  5. Avoid restricting circulation. For many people there are exposed blood vessels near the skin at the wrist. Any pressure in this region will disrupt circulation into the hand and this will increase the risks of injury.
  6. Don’t use a wrist rest. Research has shown that using a wrist rest doubles the pressure inside the wrist
  7. Avoid restricting arm movement. With a softly padded wrist rest, especially one that is rounded, or a soft chair arm rest, the forearm becomes ‘locked’ into position and this encourages people to make mouse movements by flicking the wrist, which also increases pressure.
  8. Keep the mouse free-moving. The base of the palm of the hand is the part of the body designed to support the hand when resting on a surface. With a keyboard, the best posture is for users to float their hands over the keyboard when typing and then to rest on the palm support in microbreaks between typing bursts.
  9. Mouse shape. Choose a mouse design that fits your hand but is as flat as possible to reduce wrist extension. Don’t use a curved mouse. Use a symmetrically shaped mouse.
  10. Load sharing. Share the load between your right and left hands. For this you need to choose a mouse platform that can easily be configured to the left or/and right, and a symmetrical shaped mouse that can be used by either hand.

If you need further advice or treatment, please contact Berkshire Physiotherapy Centre on 0118 9668601.

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