The Mouse Bridge - Improving Mouse Position

The Mouse Bridge - Improving Mouse Position

A mouse bridge is a simple way of bringing the mouse in closer to your optimal work space while working at the computer. Typically, people tend to reach forward or out away from the body for the mouse. Because the keyboard tray may be too small to accommodate both the keyboard and the mouse, the mouse is often placed wherever space tends to be available, often to the far side of the keyboard or on a desk surface. Using a mouse bridge can make mousing activity more comfortable and less stressful on the body. Although the mouse bridge does cover the numerical keypad and prevents its use, the bridge can be easily moved for access to the keypad when necessary.

How Does A Mouse Bridge Work?

Ergonomically, the mouse converts the numerical keyboard pad into a mousing surface. This eliminates some of the awkward reaching or the awkward wrist angles that occur during mousing activity and that can contribute to repetitive strain injuries such as tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

What is a Mouse Bridge?

A mouse bridge is simply a thin piece of plastic or metal with shallow legs that fits over the numerical pad of the keyboard. Depending upon the type and shape of the keyboard, the style of this bridge may vary.

Who Needs to Use a Mouse Bridge?

Using a mouse bridge is the perfect ergonomic adaptation for those who have short keyboard trays that do not have a mouse tray attachment or for those who have limited desk space that places the mouse more than a half an arm’s reach away from the body during use. It is also helpful for those who have placed the keyboard and the mouse at different working levels.

When Will a Mouse Bridge Work the Best?

The mouse bridge is appropriate for right-handed mousers who spend a majority of time at the computer using a mouse but who do not use the numerical pad section of the keyboard. It can also be used by those who have distinct work tasks that use either the keyboard or the numerical pad at separate times.

What Styles are Available?

  • The Standard Mouse Bridge has legs that rest on the same surface as the keyboard (on the desk or the keyboard tray). It is larger as it fits around the keyboard and is good for those who have a standard style keyboard.
  • The Flat Mouse Bridge is the smallest bridge. It rests on the keyboard itself. It can be used with the Microsoft Natural Keyboard or with pull-out keyboard trays with limited space availability.
  • A Rear Mouse Bridge has legs that can be adjusted (raised) for extra clearance for higher keyboards or if the keyboard has a cable at the right rear.
  • A side mouse bridge is also available for use with the Microsoft Natural Keyboard.

A Few More Tips
  • When using an optical mouse, use a mouse bridge that is not transparent or place a mousing pad over the mouse bridge.
  • A mousing pad on the mouse bridge may also help improve mouse movement (tracking) if needed or may help prevent the mouse from sliding if the bridge is slightly slanted. Adjusting the legs on the mouse bridge or the slant of the keyboard tray can also help even the slope of the mousing surface.
  • If the mouse bridge slides, use a non-slip padding material beneath the legs.
  • If the mouse bridge is pressing on the keys of the keyboard, lower the legs of the keyboard so that it lies flatter. Or you may need to look into a different mouse bridge such as the rear.
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 ABCs
Ergonomic Mouse Platforms & Mousing Tips
Top 10 Ways to Avoid Computer-Related Pain

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