Ergonomic Mouse Setup

One of the leading causes of carpal tunnel is bad mousing. The reason is that while you can set your wrists in a good position for your keyboard and pretty much leave them there, when you use a mouse you wiggle it all around. You get your mouse into all sorts of unnatural positions, moving it around to reach various spots on your screen without paying attention to what your hand is doing.

The first key is to have your mouse at the right height and position. Just as with the keyboard, your mouse should be at a spot where your arm is straight parallel to the ground in order to use it. You don't want to have to stretch far out to use it either. It should be somewhere that your hand falls on it rather naturally when you are sitting in your chair.

Next, the mouse has to roll VERY smoothly. I used to use the ball style mice all the time and they would always gum up with junk. You would pop the ball out and have to scrape the gunk off the little rollers inside. I switched to an optical mouse which worked MUCH better - no ball to gum up.

In addition, I swear by a cordless mouse. You might think that the cord on a mouse only gives slight resistance to your movements, but after mousing all day it's really noticeable. Having a mouse without a cord is just as accurate and responsive - even with fast paced computer games - and is much easier to use.

Even so, all of those mice require your arm and wrist to be moving around. I finally broke down and am training myself to get used to a trackball. With a trackball, your hand and wrist stay motionless, just as with a keyboard. You can get yourself situated into the perfect condition, and then just stay there. Yes, there's a learning curve on a trackball, especially if you've been using the mouse for 20+ years. But it is worth it.

Be sure to go into your control panel settings and customize your mouse setup for whatever mouse you are using. Set the speed so that you can easily move from one side of the screen to the other, but balance that with the level of control you need. There is usually a setting for clicklock, which means instead of having to press the key and move the mouse to select, you can just click on one side, move to the other end of the text and click again. That's really a GREAT help.

You want to have sensitive keys so that you only have to click lightly. You don't want to have to be hammering down on the buttons to get a response from them.

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