I have a client who is experiencing pain in her wrist – no pathology found but she has the habit of raising her middle finger up off the mouse. It appears this is what is actually causing the discomfort (confirmed by physio) but save for taping her fingers I haven't seen a mouse that would prevent her from doing this. She has been using her left hand for the past months to try and rest her dominant hand.. I did purchase one vertical mouse but it didn't fit her correctly and was not returnable so trialing is an expensive endeavour. Suggestions welcome
You could try a bar mouse, a touch pad mouse (use the middle finger on the touch pad) or a pen and tablet mouse – all these should avoid the problem you mention. Personal first preference would be one of the first 2. Is it possible for your client to visit a supplier to try these options first, before purchase? Taping may not assist as she may still exert force against the tape, regardless of movement. Jo Bills (Aus)
Nearly twenty years ago I started getting pain in my right fore-finger and eventually found that it was caused by that finger hovering over the left click button on my mouse particularly when I was using Autocad. I tried using the mouse in my other hand as that would share the work 50 – 50 between my hands. But that did not work well appear to be strongly right handed.
Another way of sharing the work between hands was to have a left click button set up to be used with any finger of my left hand, while using the right hand still for positioning the cursor. So I opened up the mouse and attached wires across the terminals of the left button, fed them along the mouse tail and to a simple button made of a sandwich of plastic and bent sheet metal. That eliminated the hovering problem and the pain and I have been using it ever since.
I also found that the Apple Gameboy could be used with Apples as the buttons on the Gameboy could be set up to copy the left click function.
I thought is was a good idea and the basis of a product, so to see if it could be sold I did a cheap market survey by contacting several graphic designers who used Apples and had finger pain problems. I visited them at their workplaces, explained the problem and the solution, and told them where they could get the $35 Gameboy locally. When I contacted them a month later, none of them had bothered to do it. That gave me the answer – stick to your day job!
Since then a number of products have been introduced to the market that did approximately the same thing – one was a pair of mice with the left one set so only the left click worked on the left mouse. They have all disappeared from the market, and all cost their inventors far more than he time that I spent on my survey. My original sandwich switch still works but I have replaced the mouse two or three times. Now most mice are heat sealed during manufacture instead of being screwed together, so I hope my current mouse lasts for ever.
You could probably do the same thing for your client as I did for myself.
There are a few L click adapters in the assistive technology market to replace the L click with a switch. The website http://www.ablenetinc.com and http://www.infogrip.com carry the following products to enable one to separate the L click from the mouse itself and use a switch.
Swifty is a USB adapter that allows any switch to be plugged into it and used as the L click. (Infogrip)
There is a switch adapted mouse (they did exactly what you did ), that will allow you to plug in a switch for either a L or R click. (Infogrip)
Another device called Switch Click is a combined switch and adapter (from Ablenet)
The wireless Switch Interface and the Switch Interface Pro allow one to use a switch for a variety of "clicks" and functions.
All of these devices are under $100.00.
Both of these companies also sell the switches of which there are many. The most common one I recomend is the Microlight switch and it can easily be held between the thumb and index finger or velcroed down to the table and just hit with the side of the hand or the thumb.
Sorry you did not find these devices while you were searching. The world of Assistive Technology has a lot to offer, but is not on the same pages as the mainstream devices so often do not show up in searches. Anyway, hope this opens up a whole new world for you to consider when searching for devices.
Kathleen Shanfield, OTR, MS, ATP
Another simple option that might work is to just swap the left and right button responses on the mouse. Many mice have this option, which can be accessed through Control Panel>Mouse. Doing this might encourage the client to keep her middle finger down. I assume that clicking with the middle finger would not exacerbate her problem, caused by raising that finger.
Have you investigated why she elevates her middle finger. Has she used, or is she using, a mouse whose right button is too sensitive, so she elevates her finger because she would otherwise click when she didn't want to? Would a more-pressure-resistant mouse therefore help, or is it a matter of breaking a habit formed with a previous mouse?
If it's just a habit that needs to be broken, you could try getting a mouse with additional button(s) (perhaps hers already has this), disable the right click (by jamming something under the button, for example), which would allow her to rest her finger on that button, then re-assign one of the other buttons (say, a thumb button, or the scroll wheel button) as Right Click (again through Control Panel>Mouse). You might then need to tape her middle and ring fingers together, if she forgets to rest her middle finger on the right button.
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