Do your hands feel achy after a long day working at your desk? Or maybe after you’ve packed away your work for the day, you notice your hands are cramping up. Could it be your mouse?
Usually, when we experience aches and pains, we often don’t look at the small pieces of our office set-up. We might invest in an exceptional ergonomic chair. Or we might purchase a monitor stand so that we don’t arch our neck forward. We go for the obvious adjustments.
But what about your keyboard or your mouse? Have you ever heard of a vertical mouse? If not, you’re about to get the lowdown on everything vertical mouse related.
Keep reading to learn more about whether this something you should invest in.
What is a Vertical Mouse?
A vertical mouse offers up an ergonomically shaped mouse to help your hand maintain a handshake position as you work. This prevents twisting of the wrist, and instead, keeps the wrist parallel, helping you avoid straining of any wrist tendons or muscles.
This also decreases your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that narrows the carpal tunnel in the wrist and may cause nerve compression, amongst other issues.
So, let’s get down to it. What are the benefits? What are the disadvantages? Below we explore the pros and cons.
So, why bother investing in a vertical mouse? Here are a few benefits:
- It reduces your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. With your wrist in a parallel position, you avoid forearm or wrist pronation which may lead to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Continual forearm and wrist pronation can irritate and inflame areas around the wrist, leading to narrowing of the carpal tunnel which can press on the median nerve. The vertical mouse also keeps your wrist up and off the desk, which may also decrease pressure in this area.
- It helps avoid muscle fatigue. With the forearm and wrist in neutral positions, muscle use is limited. This means you shouldn’t experience much (if any) cramping or aching after working with your mouse and compute for hours on end.
- It can offer a less painful way to operate your mouse if you are prone to carpal tunnel syndrome or other wrist issues. The handshake position offered by the vertical mouse allows you to place most of the stress on your forearm rather than your wrist. This can alleviate wrist strains that have already developed and prevent them from getting worse.
- It’s just more comfortable. If you haven’t tried a vertical mouse, it might be time to! You’ll notice the difference right away. Your arm will tire less. Your wrist will feel good. And all around, you might just feel more comfortable when working.
With upsides, there are always downsides. You know what they say: “What goes up must come down.” So, what are some downsides of the vertical mouse?
- The cost might be a bit high for some. A vertical mouse, traditionally, doesn’t come cheap. Many of them cost around $100 or more. In other words, it’s not something that many of us will likely buy on the fly. Check your budget and see if it fits into it. If not, maybe plan a budget for it.
- They are often battery-operated. This type of mouse rarely comes with a wire attached. This means that you’ll either have to charge it or replace the battery when the time comes. Luckily, most of the pricier options hold a charge for a decent amount of time, so this wouldn’t be something you should need to worry about on a daily or weekly basis.
- There is an adjustment period. As with anything new, it takes time to get used to. While it does feel more comfortable, time is necessary to reprogram those automatic neural networks so that you’re using your mouse without thinking about it.
How To Use a Vertical Mouse
Typically, the shape of a vertical mouse should be a big enough hint regarding how to hold it and position your hand and wrist. Most of these products are made to fit your hand with ease.
However, there are a few tips we can offer up to help you feel a little more comfortable. First off, ensure you relax all your fingers and thumb on the mouse. Avoid straining any of your fingers by resting them on the mouse. The majority of the weight from your hand should also rest on the side of your pinky finger. When using it, your wrist should not make contact with the mouse (not even the underside portion).
Once you’re properly set-up, you can then pivot using your wrist or pivot from your elbow. Choose whichever feels most comfortable to you!
Is It Worth the Investment?
This is entirely up to you. If you struggle with wrist or forearm issues, a vertical mouse is likely worth the investment. Even if you don’t, the cost of a vertical mouse could save you aches and pains down the road. Weigh the pros and cons for yourself, then set your budget and invest one!
Interested in other ergonomically-friendly office items? Check out what ergonomic chairs and standing desks we recommend by browsing other parts of our site. Discover what office set-up is right for you and your life.