Most of us use a computer mouse. It is a hand-held pointing device. It detects two-dimensional motion and moves a pointer on the computer screen.
An Ergonomic Mouse is a type of mouse that is designed to provide an optimum level of comfort to the user. It is made to fit the natural position of the hand and the arm. It also helps reduce possible health issues arising from long term use of a mouse.
Over the years, we have gotten so accustomed to the regular mouse that it is difficult to see that there could be anything wrong with it. However, an ergonomic mouse can completely change the way you look at computer mice again. It can reduce the risk of injury due to repetitive movements and increase overall comfort. In this article, we will see everything about the Ergonomic Mouse.
What is an Ergonomic Mouse?
An Ergonomic Mouse by definition is a mouse designed to reduce discomfort and avoid injuries to the arm and the hand. Some of us use a mouse extensively while working on the computer. It could be due to the nature of the work or it could be gaming.
Even though we think of the overuse of a keyboard when we talk about conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a mouse can also be a culprit that triggers such conditions. Other problems that mouse usage can trigger are arthritis and repetitive strain injuries. An ergonomic mouse can help reduce the risk of these problems.
What are the Advantages of an Ergonomic Mouse?
Ergonomic mice have several advantages over the regular mouse. Below are the special benefits of the ergonomic mouse that set them apart from the regular mouse.
Better Support to the Wrist and Hand
Traditional mice cause stress on the muscles and tendons in the hand. An ergonomic mouse reduces this stress. It provides a more natural angle to the hand and the arm. While clicking, it allows the use of more flexor muscles instead of just the index finger flexor muscles. This helps to reduce the pressure on the index finger. Due to the easy contours of the mouse, the fingers are not stretched while clicking.
Prevents Health Issues and Injuries
Since ergonomic mice intend to reduce the pressure on the wrist, arm, hand, and shoulders, it helps the user to have a better posture. A few ergonomic mouse limit wrist movement by encouraging more arm movement. The pressure on the muscles is thus distributed. High-precision tasks can be performed while resting the forearm comfortably on the desk. Thus, the shoulder and upper arm muscles are not engaged.
Medical conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be avoided. There us a new term for stress due to mouse usage – Mouse Arm Syndrome. This too can be prevented by using the right design of an ergonomic mouse.
Alleviates Existing Pain
If you have been using a traditional mouse extensively for years, a long duration of usage could have already caused stress to your hands. The pain caused by the stress can be eased by switching to an ergonomic mouse. If you have wrist pain due to mouse usage, going for an ergonomic mouse can be a blessing.
What are the Types of Ergonomic Mice?
Ergonomic mice are being preferred by many computer users today. People are inclined towards going for devices that give them better comfort even though it comes with a price tag to it. Below are the different types of ergonomic mice you can consider.
Horizontal mice, the kind we normally see, put a lot of pressure on the wrist muscles and bones. The vertical mouse comes to the rescue. Looking at a vertical mouse for the first time might make you wonder how anyone can possibly use this odd-looking design. However, it works just fine with some practice.
- It encourages the engagement of stronger muscles in the arm.
- It reduces the use of the weaker muscles to avoid stress to them.
- The mouse involves the use of the thumb and makes the extra buttons on the mouse easily accessible.
- The arm is in a more natural and relaxed position.
- It looks cool, quirky, and different!
- It takes time and practice to get used to this device.
- Limited options are available in the market.
- Might not be suitable for high-performance gaming.
Horizontal Ergonomic Mouse
This type takes the humble horizontal mouse and adds features to it to make it more user-friendly. It is also known as the Contour Mouse. It can have a bit of a tilt to its design to make for more natural angles. The shape is only slightly different than the regular mouse. Hence, getting used to the new design should not be a problem.
- Look and feel is similar to the regular mouse.
- Very easy to use.
- More natural angles reduce stress to the muscles.
- There are plenty of options to choose from.
- The ergonomics are not as good as the vertical mouse.
- Most models that provide good comfort are expensive.
The trackball mouse has a ball on top of the mouse. For moving the pointer, the mouse need not be moved. Just moving the ball on the top with your finger can move the pointer. Different options are available for using either the thumg or a finger for operating the trackball. Clickable buttons are present on the mouse. It is very different from the traditional mouse that we use generally.
- More range of pointer movement without wrist movement due to presence of the tracking ball.
- The mouse can be easily used on any surface.
- The hand and wrist are in a comfortable position while using the mouse.
- Since it does not involve mouse movement, it could take some time to get used to it.
- It is difficult to use the mouse for gaming.
- People with smaller hands might find it a little hard to use the mouse.
- Limited options are available in the market to choose from.
Roll Bar Mouse
A roll bar mouse is very convenient if you reach out for your mouse every now and then while using the keyboard. It sits right below the keyboard. It is almost like an extension to the keyboard. Hence, the arm movement to use the mouse is reduced.
- It is very convenient to use.
- Many variants include shortcut buttons such as copy and paste, making it easy to use.
- The wrist rest that comes with it is helpful even when using the keyboard.
- Both hands can be used to use the mouse.
- Accuracy can be lower. However, it can be improved with practice.
- The distance to reach the keyboard increases.
- The roll bar mouse is slower than the other mice.
Which Type of Ergonomic Mouse is Better?
Which type of ergonomic mouse is better than the others is a matter of personal preference. However, if you are looking to buy an ergonomic mouse, you can consider the below aspects to make an informed choice.
Buttons on the Mouse
The traditional mouse only has the left-click and the right-click button. But with an ergonomic mouse, the number of buttons can go up. You need to decide whether you want more control while using the mouse. There are some other shortcut buttons that can come with different models of ergonomic mice.
Some buttons can be customized, too. It depends on what functions you use the mouse most for. Whether it is for gaming or for graphic designing, you can assign hotkeys to the mouse buttons for a better experience.
Like traditional mice, an ergonomic mouse will also come in different connectivity options. Depending on your preference, you can go for a wired or wireless mouse. If choosing a wireless mouse, you should consider the battery life and the number of batteries required for the mouse.
Some mice have an option to connect with Bluetooth and USB, both. So, you can quickly connect to USB if the battery is low and charge it while it is being used. It ultimately boils down to how long your typical activity sessions are.
Design of the Mouse
How the mouse feels in your hand while using it is a very important consideration. The fit needs to be good in order to use the mouse comfortably. If your hands are too large or too small, you should check if the mouse is convenient to use. A wrong fit will cause more harm than good.
You need special consideration if you are left-handed. Most mice are designed for right-handed people. Hence, it is important to check if the mouse suits you if your left hand is your dominant hand.
Ergonomic mice are more expensive than traditional mice. However, there are plenty of low-cost mice available, too. You can find an ergonomic mouse for under $20, too. At the same time, you can also splurge and go for mice that are priced upwards of $100. The mice priced higher come with an array of features.
The use of laptops over desktops has gone up in recent years. Since laptops come with a trackpad, it might look like having a dedicated mouse is no longer required. While this might be true in some rare cases, mouse usage is still very much relevant in most use cases. An Ergonomic Mouse can be your best bet in such situations. You can also consider getting an ergonomic keyboard to complement the mouse.