Ergonomic Mouse Platforms & Mousing Tips

Ergonomic  Mouse Platforms & Mousing Tips

When working at the keyboard, many of us now know that we must use an under-the-desk keyboard tray or some kind of positioning support to place the keyboard at the right height. A keyboard that is too high or too far away can place us in awkward positions and place strain on the body.

It is also important to consider the position of the mouse. I have found that when I perform work site evaluations, the mouse is often ignored while all the attention is placed on the keyboard. Yet many of my clients spend as much time, if not more, using the mouse as compared to the keyboard. And often times, the mouse is placed high on a desk or way off to the side, wherever a bit of space can be found for it.

Positioning the mouse should take high priority when looking at office ergonomics. Proper positioning will help you avoid awkward postures and muscle strain and fatigue. As with the keyboard, these following positioning tips should be followed.
  • The mouse should be positioned at elbow height when the arms are held loosely at the side, the ears, shoulders and elbows all in vertical alignment, and the shoulders relaxed.
  • The mouse should be positioned directly in front of the body, as close to the right side of the keyboard (or left side if left-handed) as possible.
  • It is better to open the elbow a bit more than to bend the elbow when positioning the mouse (and keyboard). So go lower than elbow height rather than higher, especially if you have elbow pain.
  • The wrist should be in a neutral position when using the mouse.
Space can be of a premium in the office environment. Here are a few alternative mouse supports that may help with proper positioning.

  • Bean Bag Lap Tray
      The LapMouse has a bean bag base that sits on the knee ending stressful reaching for the mouse. You can use it flat or tilt in any direction to eliminate stress, pain and hand and arm fatigue.

  • Mouse Bridge

    • For those who mouse with the right hand and do not use the number pad on the keyboard, the Mouse Bridge is an inexpensive solution that places the mouse closer to the main portion of the keyboard. The Mouse Bridge straddles the numeric keypad portion of the keyboard so you can easily reach your mouse.

  • Chair Arm Supports

    • An easily attachable extension to the desk chair arm that ends in a mousing platform. This supports the weight of the arm and eliminates reaching for the mouse.

  • Under-the-Desk Mouse Platform

    • A mouse tray that clamps to the desk bringing the mouse platform down to the armrest level of the chair. The tray can rotate and swivel. It tucks the mouse under the desk when not in use.

A few more mousing tips -
  • Move the mouse by holding the wrist still and moving through the shoulder.
  • Use a relaxed grip on the mouse. Don’t squeeze it tightly.
  • Try using a vertical mouse or alternative mouse device.
Marji Hajic is an Occupational Therapist and a Certified Hand Therapist practicing in Santa Barbara, California. For more information on hand and upper extremity injuries, prevention and recovery, visit Hand Health Resources.

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You Should Also Read:
Ergonomic Keyboard Platforms
Neutral Position - Fingers, Wrist, Forearm
Ergonomic ABCs

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