Workplace Ergonomics – Does a mouse gel pad really help in preventing RSI and avoid hands and wrist pain?
Until recently, whenever you’d go to the doctor complaining about aches in your wrist due to using a mouse, probably the only advice you got was – Use a gel pad for your mouse! And indeed, for the longest time this was the most popular solution, if not a highly effective one
Today, most ergonomics professionals agree that the mouse gel pad is not the ideal solution, and is certainly not the only solution! The pad is but one of many solutions, and each case should be examined individually, preferably through ergonomic consultation.
Supporting your wrist by a mouse gel pad has several disadvantages:
- The support fixes your hand, so that all mouse movements are performed by your wrist, creating a constant stress on a small group of muscles, that might lead to damages and aches.
- If the supporting pad is not soft enough, it might create a pressure point on the wrist, right at the carpal tunnel – an extremely sensitive spot.
- And when the support is too elevated (a problem common in several designs), it might force the wrist to “break” and fixate it on a faulty working posture.
So – is it time to throw the old gel pad ? Before you toss it away, please pause and note – this kind of support is actually beneficial for a certain percentage people – those that have an arch-like structure in the part that connects the hand to the forearm, and using the pad to support it might help them while working with a mouse.
So, what else can you do if your hand aches?
- Make sure your entire workstation is ergonomically organized. The best way is hiring an ergonomics specialist – go into the link for correct posture and sitting instructions.
- Restore your hand using exercises for strength and flexibility – click here to go to a list of recommended exercises.
- Plunge your hand into some cold water or use some ice to cool your hand at the end of your work session.
- Consider choosing a vertical ergonomic mouse – it improves your hand posture, prevents your shoulder from the uncomfortable twist it has to perform for using a regular mouse, and makes it easy for your shoulder – elbow – wrist and hand to work together.