7 Ways To Prevent Hand Strain From Using A Mouse

Working on a computer is pretty much a requirement these days. If you spend a long time at the computer, you can probably feel it in your hands and posture if your setup is subpar.

Today we’re going to be focusing on how to prevent hand and wrist strain when using a mouse at your desk.

99% of computer usage is with a keyboard and mouse, so it’s an important problem to solve if you feel any discomfort. I myself am using these peripherals for countless hours every day.

desk mat with mouse and keyboard sitting on top.

In this article, we’re going to give you tips and tricks to follow to relieve that hand pain once and for all. These solutions will be directed towards proper posture and helpful tools you can add to your setup.

Ways To Prevent Hand Strain While Using A Mouse

The best way to solve hand or wrist pain when using your computer is to prevent what’s causing it. Whenever I had wrist pain when using a mouse, it was always related to the mouse itself, or how my hand/arm was positioned.

Here are 7 ways you can prevent hand pain when using a mouse.

Use A Mousepad With a Wrist Rest

Most computer mice are made in a very general shape to satisfy most people. The result is a mouse that works okay for the average hand, but poorly for everyone else.

One of these issues is a mouse that forces your wrist to hover in order to have a comfortable hand position. We obviously can’t concentrate on hovering our wrists the entire time we use a computer.

One solution here is to use a mousepad that includes a wrist rest. These mousepads let you sit your wrist on an elevated area of the mousepad to ensure you have proper hand posture.

Here’s an example:

Mouse Pad with Gel Wrist Support
  • Circular shape for proper travel range
  • Elevates wrist with gel support
  • Non-slip base
  • Comes in variety of styles
  • Some users desire larger size
Check Price On Amazon

Add A Delta Hub Carpio To Your Setup

If you don’t like the idea of keeping your wrist in one place, there is a solution out there! It’s called the Carpio by DeltaHub.

The Carpio is a small accessory that sits directly underneath your pronounced wrist bones. This elevates your wrist to provide the same comfort as a mousepad with a wrist rest.

What makes this different is that the bottom of the Carpio has low-friction sliders that let you move your wrist around with your mouse!

This means you can get a lot more range of mouse travel than a simple gel pad wrist rest.

Consider Higher-End Computer Mice

Before using my current mouse, I was using a super cheap wireless Dell mouse that was a freebie with my old laptop. I couldn’t use that mouse for more than an hour without my hand hurting in different areas.

As my productivity nosedived due to my old Dell mouse, I switched to a cheap low-profile mouse I found on Amazon. I thought the low profile would make me not need a wrist test.

Soon enough, I also found this mouse to be pretty uncomfortable too.

After doing a bunch of research on what other people were using, I kept hearing about one mouse in particular over and over. That was the Logitech MX Master 3.

vacuuming desk mat to remove dirt and make it clean

I looked it up, saw the $100 price tag, and decided to deal with my old mouse with the hand pain. Who spends $100 on a mouse?!

Logitech MX Master 3S – Wireless Performance Mouse
  • Ergonomic shape for all-day comfort
  • High density tracking sensor
  • Quiet clicks (improvement over MX 3)
  • Magspeed scroll wheel
  • High level of customization & shortcuts
  • Three computer memory settings
  • Pricey, but you get what you pay for.
Check Price on Amazon

Later I decided to bite the bullet figuring I could just return it if I didn’t like it. I have now been using this mouse pain-free for three years! That’s why you’ll see it on my desk in almost every image I post on this website.

This is the only mouse where the shape actually conforms to my hand very well. I have not needed nor wanted a mouse since buying the MX Master 3.

Just look at the shape of this thing! Logitech nailed it with the comfort. I also had my employer get me one for work as well.

MX Master 3 Mouse on a mousepad desk mat

Also, as a side note, this mouse is a productivity powerhouse! You get tons of programmable shortcuts that can make your life much easier.

I talk about these benefits in our guide on the best desk setups for productivity.

Ensure Proper Hand and Arm Positioning

A huge source of wrist and hand pain can be due to how you sit at your desk. In our article on finding the proper desk height, we touch on how your level hands should be flat with your desk in a neutral position.

Too many people use their mouse with a bent wrist. Your wrist should be flat with your arm instead.

If you find you are bending your wrist too much, you need to adjust the height of your chair. This lifts you up or down to ensure your arm is level with your hands while using your keyboard and mouse.

If you have an adjustable-height desk, change your desk height until your posture looks something like this:

graphic of person sitting at desk with proper ergonomics

Notice how the arms are level with the desk? This is a key concept in desk ergonomics. Adjust your setup until your arms are at the level shown in the image above.

If your feet are no longer touching the floor, invest in a simple footrest like the one below. This is the exact model I use.

CushZone Under Desk Foot Rest

This CushZone footrest provides a comfortable sitting position, it elevates your legs which can improve blood circulation in the legs. It features an adjustable height, high-quality foam, and a non-slip and machine-washable cover.

Check Price on Amazon

Use Ergonomic Specific Computer Mice

We already touched on investing in a higher quality mouse, like the Logitech MX Master 3. However, there is another option for those wanting another level of ergonomics with a less conventional mouse.

This is the Logitech MX Vertical mouse:

Logitech MX Vertical Wireless Mouse

The MX Vertical Mouse offers a natural handshake position that reduces muscular activity by 10%. The unique 57° vertical angle reduces pressure on your wrist and thumb. Tested and approved by leading ergonomists, the mouse reduces muscle strain and wrist pressure. The 4000 DPI high-precision sensor results in 4x less hand movement and reduces fatigue.

Check Price on Amazon

This type of mouse lets you hold your mouse in a much more natural hand position.

It takes your traditional mouse position and angles it upwards 57 degrees. Logitech calls this the natural handshake position.

The features are less impressive than the MX Master 3, but that’s because the focus is not as tailored towards productivity here. The main idea of this mouse is comfort.

Logitech claims the mouse is “designed to reduce muscle strain, decrease wrist pressure, and improve posture”.

If you have particularly small hands, Logitech has an ergonomic mouse specifically for you. Also, it comes quite a bit cheaper than the MX Vertical.

Logitech Lift Vertical Ergonomic Mouse

Logitech Lift Vertical Ergonomic Mouse is a comfortable cordless mouse for small to medium hands with customizable buttons, quiet clicks, and a SmartWheel for smooth scrolling. Ergo-certified and with up to 2 years battery life, it can connect via Bluetooth or Logi Bolt USB to various operating systems.

Check Price on Amazon

Support Your Arm With Chair Arm Rest

We touched on how your arms should be level with your desk. If you have a shallow desk without much depth, it can be hard to maintain this arm position.

Shallow desk users will find that their desks end right after their wrist. The result is that their arms are floating and want to droop downwards. This could lead to wrist pain.

One solution to this issue is using a chair with armrests. Even better is a chair with adjustable height armrests.

Your chair’s armrest should be level with your desk. This way your armrests act as a natural extension of your desk for your arm. Now you don’t have to hold your arm and elbow in mid-air by yourself!

If you’re in the market for a high-quality chair, I recommend checking out our article on the Steelcase Series 1 vs. Series 2. These two chairs are on the affordable side in the world of high-end performance seating.

Herman Miller Office Chair
My Herman Miller Sayl (bought used)

These chairs last a really long time. I myself am using an old Herman Miller Sayl from 2012, and it’s by far the most comfortable chair I’ve used.

Support Your Arm With Desk Extensions

If you don’t have armrests on your chair and don’t want to purchase a pricey new chair, there is another way to extend your desk. That is with literal desk extensions!

Desk extensions like the one shown below are specifically designed to support your arm for mouse usage. These simply clamp to your desk so it’s a pretty versatile solution.

The extension below can actually fold out of the way when you’re done using it. It’s also designed to be flush with the desk.

Computer Desk Arm Rest Extender
  • Can support up to 20 lbs
  • Clamps onto desk
  • Creates flush surface
  • Only supports desks under ~2" thick
Check Price on Amazon

Increase Mouse Sensitivity

This last solution is a little unconventional. Because we are moving our computer mice around all day, this movement can result in hand fatigue.

If you could move your mouse and your hand a little less, you would impart less fatigue on your hand. That’s where adjusting your mouse sensitivity comes into play.

If you adjust your mouse to be more sensitive, you have to move your mouse less for the same amount of screen movement.

Check out the guides below on how to adjust mouse sensitivity for Mac and PC computers:

How To Relieve Hand Pain From Mouse Usage

If you want to keep learning how to relieve hand pain from constantly using your mouse, check out the video below:

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I'm a big time workspace enthusiast who is constantly experimenting with my setup. Sharing along the way to help people make their own desk setups more functional and inviting, whether it be for productivity or play!

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