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I've just developed a painful case of repetative strain in my mouse hand; a swollen joint on my wrist, causing pain down the side of my hand. My little finger is also hurting as this tends to 'float' as i click the mouse. So what I'm wandering is what mice people are using to prevent developing stress injuries like this?

  • I just had a Minority Report moment. Get a pair of those gloves. Badass. – g.a.harry Aug 23 '11 at 14:26
  • By mouse, I thought mouse, and by strain, I thought disease. My next thought was, surely this is spam. To answer, you may want to consider a tablet. – Miles B. Aug 24 '11 at 4:55
  • Minority Report - kind of like this! youtube.com/watch?v=WYBzKFm-rd0 – Noiseboy Aug 24 '11 at 10:34
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In my own experience, often the source of RSI has more to do with your overall sitting position, the way you've set up your desk/screen/workspace and your work attitude. I don't think you will fix it with a single 'magical mouse', it might go away for a while, but the problem might return in a different part of your hand/arm/shoulder.

Best thing to do is ensure you are sitting in a good posture, so that means using a really good chair and have your screen set up high enough so that you can sit straight. Also ensure your chair is high enough so you can comfortably rest your wrists on your desk/chair arms. Add a footstool for further comfort (and it also helps with your back posture), add perhaps some wrist support at your keyboard and mousepad.

And very important, take regular breaks, like 5 minutes per hour or something. Go for a walk, or do something else, but don't sit at that damn computer all the time. RSI also can become worse when you are stressing.

I've had a lot RSI problems in the past but as soon as I started to take better care of myself they largely disappeared.

  • Agreed, taking care of oneself is king. I find that I subconsciously do the same, get up and stretch/move around for a few min ever 1 hr or so. It also seems to keep my mind from zoning out too. – Stavrosound Aug 24 '11 at 6:17
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I'm using the Kensington ExpertMouse trackball, and absolutely love it. Easy to use and, at least in my experience, is conducive to long work periods with little/no hand fatigue. Also, you can't beat the scrubbing ability with this trackball versus a regular mouse drag ;)

It takes some getting used to at first, but I could never dream of going back to a regular mouse.

The keys can be programmed for specific ProTools hotkeys, and that alone has sped me up in the edit. And, it comes with a wrist support attachment. And since it's a trackball, you can use your mid-finger part of your fingers to move the trackball itself if you like, instead of having to "finger-pluck'. I find that I tend to do this, allowing the trackball to roll with my mid-fingers most of the time

I know that a lot of post sound facilities in LA use this trackball, and I can only guess that it's the same reason every facility and stage pretty much has the Herman Miller Aeron chairs - it's a good piece of gear that does it job well and is comfortable for long period of work.

Sidenote: Like a baking pan, the trackball gets better after it's been broken in - the oils in your hands over time make it glide as smooth as butter. The first few times though it will feel stiff and sluggish to use probably. Within a week's time it should be good to go.

  • thanks - i think i've heard people mention these before, they look great. – Noiseboy Aug 23 '11 at 11:57
  • I always thought the trackball in studios was due to limited space. – Dave Matney Aug 23 '11 at 13:29
  • Yep I too love the Kensington Expertmouse trackball!! love the wheel around the ball and all four buttons work flawlessly. takes a little to get used to if you are not used to using a trackball. But keeping your hand in one spot keeps things with the wrist good. – Ryanhdd Aug 23 '11 at 13:30
  • I use the Expertmouse trackball as well. Like you said, it's rough going off the bat, but after a while, it's great. I could never again do without it. Can't recommend it enough. – cocteau Aug 23 '11 at 14:55
  • Another vote for the Kensington trackball. Both for hand health and to account for limited space. – Joe Griffin Aug 23 '11 at 15:20
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A friend of mine spent a few hundred too many hours busking on his guitar - and has developed carpel tunnel syndrome.

He combats mouse fatigue by switching mouse hand every so often. I can't imagine it. But that's what he does.

(My left hand is way too busy with my Contour Shuttle.) There's an idea, if your right hand is in serious pain.

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In addition to the trackball approach, I've had good luck using a Wacom tablet as a mouse. It breaks up the repetitive movement -- not to mention it gives you an excuse to work on your visual artistic skills every so often.

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If you are using a mac how about the wireless trackpad as an alternative?

http://www.apple.com/magictrackpad/

At home I switch between a tiny teac mouse and my laptop's track pad, the combo works really well for me.

At work I use old mac mice and just switch between using keyboard shortcuts and the mice.

Everyone I know who has carpal tunnel syndrome now use a graphics tablet, and the change has worked for all of them.

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I also have been using the Kensington trackball for 12 years. It is fantastic in terms of efficiency and comfort.

Another thing I use that seems to help a lot is a keyboard tray that has multi-dimensional adjustments. It can adjust up and down, forward and backwards and in the pitch or angle of the tray. When I feel a little pain creeping in I find I can adjust the tray to a different, but still comfortable position and this change switches things up just enough to fight off the RSI.

But the big thing is the trackball. I find it speeds up my editing drastically. I also freelance at a bunch of studios and they are all using the Kensington, so it is a pretty common piece of gear in post studios

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Logitech trackball here. You can get MUCH more precise with a trackball than with a mouse, and your wrist rests comfortably as well.

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Another fan of the Kensington! I set-up a very rudimentary stand-up edit station, and in the three months or so since then, my physical discomfort has decreased exponentially. By hour eight or so, I still get a little sore in my track ball side shoulder, but even after a full twelve, Im no longer munchin Ibuprofen like I was when I was sitting.

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tablet; trackball; or change of hands and attitude. have tried first and last (after surgery on my wrist), and they seem to work, especially in combination. Daan Hendriks is so right, a simple stretching of your arms and adjusting your posture can get you very far. Basically always remember that our bodies weren't built for this.

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