I conducted an office worksation evaluation at a physicians office. One of the staff members is the Information Manager for the orthopaedic clinic. She spends 80%of the day on the computer and uses a standard type(dove shaped mouse). Her right index finger is swollen from the knuckle down to the hand and is painful. She tends to "hover"the right index finger over the mouse. The swelling does not decrease when she is away from work. Her finger has been like this since March 2004 !! Would a different type mouse help ? If so what kind ? My first suggestion to her was to see a hand specialist for an evaluation. Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated.
Hello, have you tried teaching her to left hand mouse? As long as the person is using a symmetrical mouse, then they can put it on the left hand side. Under ‘settings’ in the control panel you can select ‘mouse’ and when that’s opened you can change the buttons so that the left hand index finger is doing the selecting and the ‘right click’ button becomes the left. You can also slow down the speed of the click (as a right handed person will not be as quick on the left) and can slow down the speed of travel of the pointer.
Not only does left hand mousing take some of the pressure off the right, but as you don’t have to stretch out past the numberpad to the right of the keyboard, you can get the mouse closer to you.
Assuming the mouse is the problem, there are two things she could try to begin with:
1. rest her finger on the mouse, instead of hovering over the button. If she does that because she doesn’t want to accidentally click, she could rest her finger on the mouse wheel (which is usually more resistant to clicking), or look for a more resistant mouse;
2. use the mouse with her other hand. It takes a bit of getting used to but she should be get the hang of it in a couple of weeks. There will probably be a mouse option to swap the mouse button functions from left to right.
As for an alternative mouse, the NOMUS might help – especially if she wants to try using the left hand more than the right.
The Contour Roller Mouse is extremely effective at eliminating demands on the index finger when using a mouse – the roller bar effectively distributes the task over two hands and many use several fingers. It is quite easy to adjust to for most users and the feedback in our organization which has a multitude of offices has been very positive.
Debbie, CCPEDebbie Schwartzentruber
Manager of Ergonomics
Maple Leaf Consumer Foods Canada
Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist
My name is Daniel David. My backround is Physiotherapy and I am involved in assessing workstations . There are different types of mice available on the market. You may find this link helpful.
As the finger is painful and swollen using the left hand is the best move.
Back Care Advisor
Both the RollerMouse Pro and the similar Trackbar Emotion are available in the Ergobuyer Store. These alternative mousing devices will reduce or eliminate reaching for a traditional mouse (easing arm, shoulder and neck exposures) as well as reduce or eliminate the finger exposure in this person’s case.
Only effective, reliable, ergonomically designed products, satisfaction guaranteed.
If the worker is unsuccessful with left handed micing due to incoordination or similar behavior with the left index finger "hovering", you may want to determine if she can resume using the right hand, the alternative devices such as the Rollermouse Station, the Cirque touchpad or Wacom pen/tablet to help refrain from keeping the index finger extended in a static position.
Did you also consider if high repetitive scrolling to be an additional risk factor to her index finger injury?
Hasn’t anyone heard of static positioning? Tell her to take her hand OFF THE MOUSE if she isn’t moving or clicking. She should also take this time to stretch, ROM her hands and get the blood flowing.
You could be looking at a chronic regional pain syndrome. If this is the case you may want to get it checked out as soon as possible as these can be very persistent conditions. If this is the case Lorrimar Mosely developed a limb laterality retraining program that has been found to achieve some success.
If it is CRPS she will quickly start losing bone density and this will probably show up on Xrays. Two of the common signs are the pain and the autonomic nervous system involvement e.g. swelling. You can also have sweating etc as another example. If it is this condition it involves changes to the brain and no changes at an ergonomic level will significantly impact on the condition. If it is this condition the sooner it is diagnosed the better (it obviously may also not be this condition)
apart from the physical therapy required in this case, the best option for now is the left-hand mouse.
Telling the person to take the hand off the mouse is a tricky option because it requires changing a behavioural pattern. I have heard recently from a researcher at TU Delft (Netherlands) that they have been working on a mouse that senses a "hovering hand". If this is the case, the mouse will start to vibrate (like a cell phone) to remind the user to take the hand off the mouse.
Dr.-Ing. Joachim Vedder, M.S., EurErg
Manager Ergonomics and Work Science
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