If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, then you know full well how excruciatingly painful it can be to even perform certain basic tasks like holding a computer mouse.
In fact, if you’re using the wrong kind of computer mouse, you may even be making your carpal tunnel symptoms worse! The wrong type of computer mouse can place added stress on the median nerve that travels through your carpal tunnel, making your condition worse.
The good news is that it’s definitely possible to find a computer mouse that can be used comfortably, even with carpal tunnel. You don’t have to suffer through pain, numbness, and that tingling pins-and-needles sensation in your hands while using your computer.
To that end, we’ve put together this brief guide to show you what to look for when it comes to the best computer mouse for carpal tunnel sufferers.
When looking to buy a new computer mouse to try and relieve your carpal tunnel symptoms, you should try and pick out an option that satisfies the following criteria:
Without a doubt, the most important thing to look for when choosing a computer mouse if you have carpal tunnel syndrome is one that is ergonomic. An ergonomic computer mouse should let your wrist remain in a neutral position while you are using it, forming a straight line with your forearm.
There are two types of mouse designs that we would recommend if you suffer from carpal tunnel—either a vertical mouse or one that features a trackball.
Vertical mice are designed to remove much of the natural tension placed on your body when your hand holds a regular mouse. Their elevated angle encourages the use of your entire arm to make movement as opposed to just your wrist, further reducing the amount of pressure placed on your wrist area.
Mice that feature trackballs are also great for carpal tunnel sufferers. They let you use your fingers to navigate the mouse cursor around your screen, taking virtually all of the tension off of your wrist. They are especially beneficial if your carpal tunnel symptoms cause pain in your thumbs, as you can operate them using your other fingers with ease. As an added benefit, trackballs tend to be far more accurate than traditional computer mice!
Other than choosing a mouse design that is ergonomically sound, you should be selecting an option that feels comfortable for you to grip. This comes down to two main factors to consider—how big the mouse is and what sort of grip you need to hold the mouse.
As far as the size of the mouse goes, that’s typically a matter of personal preference. Whatever size you feel most comfortable using is the option that you should go with.
Beyond that, there are generally three main “styles” of grip that you can purchase for your computer mouse—a palm grip where you lay your entire hand over the mouse, a claw-style grip where your fingers are usually arched to look like a claw while holding the house, and finally a fingertip-style grip mouse that is maneuvered entirely with your fingertips.
There’s no hard and fast answer when it comes to which grip is most suitable for carpal tunnel sufferers—we recommend you spend some time sampling each variety in a computer store to see what feels most comfortable for you before making your purchasing decision.
The final consideration that you should be taking in mind is how much mouse sensitivity you feel comfortable using. A mouse with a higher dots per inch (DPI) number will be more sensitive than one with a lower DPI count.
Some carpal tunnel sufferers find it easier to use a computer mouse with a higher sensitivity, as it only requires slight hand movements to move the cursor quickly and easily.
These days, many computer mice actually have a built-in toggle that lets you switch between high and low DPI settings. This type of mouse could be an ideal option if you’ll be performing a wide variety of tasks while using your computer.
Choosing the best computer mouse for carpal tunnel sufferers doesn’t have to be a complicated process. So long as you keep your comfort level when using the mouse as a top priority and spend a bit of time sampling a few different models, it should be fairly simple to find a suitable model for your needs.
Just remember—ergonomics and comfort are going to be the most important things to prioritize. If you are using a computer mouse that takes the pressure and tension off of your wrist, you’d be amazed at how quickly you can notice a reduction in painful carpal tunnel symptoms when using your computer.