If you spend most of your working day clicking a mouse then knowing how to hold a mouse properly matters.
Holding your hand in the same position and making repetitive movements could be putting you at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome or a repetitive strain injury.
To use your mouse correctly, be aware of five key points:
- Position your mouse comfortably relative to your body. You don’t want to be reaching too far - keep your elbow at a 90 degree angle.
- Don’t grip the mouse too tightly. Gripping your mouse too tightly can cause pressure, pain and injury. Try to be relaxed and in a neutral position.
- Use your arm to move the mouse, not your wrist.
- Adjust your computer’s mouse settings correctly. In the system preferences you can adjust cursor speed and double-click speed to find a comfortable setting where you don’t have to make unnecessary movements.
- Take a break regularly. Walk away from the computer for a few minutes at regular intervals.
There are plenty of ways to hold a mouse – and most of them are wrong! Here are some tips to hold and use your mouse the correct way to avoid injury and fatigue.
The Position of the Mouse
Some people reach too far for the mouse rather than keeping it close to their keyboard which can cause neck and shoulder pain. Your elbow should stay at a 90-degree angle. A mouse tray helps keep the mouse in the correct position if you find yourself always moving it back.
How to Hold Your Mouse
Just like using a light touch to type, you need to hold your mouse loose and click lightly. Gripping the mouse tight can cause pain and injury to your hand and arm. When you are not clicking the button, leave your finger/s down resting on the mouse rather than hovering in the air, so you don’t cause them stress. If you are not using your mouse for a short period, take your hand off the mouse.
Keep wrists in a straight position, so they aren’t angled up, down or to either side. Use a light touch when clicking a mouse, so there is less stress on your hands and wrists. Some people can effectively use a mouse on either side, so both hands share the load. It can take several days for your less dominant hand to become proficient. With persistence and an ambidextrous mouse, you should be successful.
Adjust the Mouse Controls
Efficient mouse use isn’t just about the best way to hold a computer mouse. Use the system preferences on your computer to adjust the speed of your mouse cursor, the size of the cursor and even the time between double clicks. If your mouse is moving too fast or slow it’s not just frustrating but also takes more movements than is necessary.
Proper Mouse Posture
A correct ergonomic mouse position can improve your chance of staying pain and injury free. The best way to hold a computer mouse is to not rest your wrist or forearm on the desk. By lifting your wrist off the desk you will use your whole arm to move the mouse, which will reduce the risk of you straining the nerve in your wrist and developing carpal tunnel.
Mouse Grip Styles
The three main mouse grip styles are:
Palm Grip – the most popular hold where the hand and fingers are reasonably flat against the mouse.
Claw Grip – refers to the arch of the hand where the knuckles sit higher than the palm grip
Fingertip Grip – common amongst users with big hands, the fingers are in contact with the mouse rather than the palm which occurs with the other two grips.
One grip isn’t necessarily better or worse than the others, the most important thing is to follow the five key points detailed earlier in this article.
The type of grip each person chooses comes down to personal preference and what the mouse is mainly used for. Someone who uses a mouse for gaming will likely hold it differently to someone who uses a mouse occasionally throughout the workday.
Whichever grip you use, it’s important to take regular breaks, so your hand isn’t always on the mouse. Walking away from the computer gives your whole body a well-earned rest but if you want to stop using the mouse for a while, switch to keyboard commands or do other tasks that don’t require a mouse.
Different Types of Ergonomic Mice
Mice come in all shapes and sizes. Besides making sure the mouse fits comfortably in the palm of your hand, you should also consider using an ergonomic mouse. Try a few different styles to find one that fits your hand and working style.
Looking more like a joystick than a mouse, the Penguin Ambidextrous Mouse’s unique ‘handle grip’ is specially designed for protection against RSI and Carpal Tunnel. The handle keeps the forearm in a natural position and doesn’t allow the bones to cross over. The scroll wheel and soft key touch are also designed to prevent arm and hand injuries.
A vertical mouse allows your hand to stay in the most natural upright position, so the forearm isn’t twisted. The Evoluent V4 Vertical Mouse matches the shape of most hands and has a lip on the bottom, so your hand doesn’t rub against the desk. The Evoluent eliminates any finger contortions and reduces muscle tension and is available in right hand, left hand and small hand.
For those people who prefer to use a raised mouse, the Oyster Vertical Mouse allows the user to choose the angle of adjustment between 20 and 70 degrees. Productivity can be increased with programmable click buttons and shortcut keys.
Depending on the type of work you do, a trackball mouse or rollermouse can give you precise cursor movement, increased control and the ability to program buttons. Scrolling with a wheel can reduce the movements your arm needs to make.
If you need any help choosing the right size or type of mouse for your requirements, don’t hesitate to contact the expert team at Ergolink by visiting the showroom, call us on (08) 9240 7066 orcontact us online for more personalised advice.