Office Ergonomics: Mice

Source: Chatchai Kritsetsakul - 123RF

If you use a mouse for an extended length of time, either at work or home, there are two things you should consider in relation to the mouse and your workstation. The first is the placement of your mouse. You should position the mouse to maintain a straight, neutral wrist posture, making sure that it is not too close or too far away from you. If not, you may be exposed to awkward postures, excessive reaching, or unnatural movements, all of which can lead to the development of a musculoskeletal disorder.

You may also avoid such problems by using a keyboard that has a trackpad built into it, using a keyboard without a number pad (which will leave more room for your mouse), using a mouse pad with a wrist or palm rest, or minimizing the use of the mouse by incorporating various keystrokes, such as Control-S to save or Control-P to print.

Another potential problem could arise when using a mouse that is the wrong shape or size. In order to prevent this, you should select a mouse that is designed to fit your hand. Mice, or other pointing devices, are usually available in right or left hand models and, for those who like to switch between hands, models that can be used with either hand. If you use the mouse a lot, it is a good idea to switch between different hands, since this provides a period of rest for the other hand.

Finally, if a mouse is causing you too much trouble or discomfort, it might be a good idea to try another device—one that does not require as much moving or bending of the wrist. Today, users have the option of selecting a trackball, joystick, or trackpad, to name a few options. Even switching to a touchscreen may be an option for some. The key is variety, and not getting locked into one way of doing things. Before settling on a new device or set up, however, be sure to test it prior to use.