OPTIMAL MOUSE AND KEYBOARD USE

By Pippa Bowden

Now that you are sitting in the ideal position, let's make sure you use your mouse and keyboard in a way that optimises comfort and prevents injury. Here are some tips on what to watch out for and what to do.

What to watch out for:

  • Slight upwards movement of your wrist while typing and using the mouse is normal, but avoid excessive upwards and outwards movement of your wrist as this can stress your wrist and forearm muscles.
  • Try not to flick your wrist when typing and using the mouse, use your whole arm instead
  • If you are using a wrist rest, make sure it is only used when pausing not typing.
  • Have you got a runaway mouse - one that starts close to you and by the end of the day is halfway down the desk? Having to reach for your mouse can stress shoulder muscles.
  • Don't pinch your mouse. Relax your thumb and rest your whole hand over the mouse, use both index and middle fingers to click.

What to do:

  • Make sure your keyboard is directly in front of you.
  • Keep your mouse at the same level as your keyboard.
  • Your elbows must be close to your sides, shoulders relaxed and wrists in line with your forearms.
  • Make sure that the weight of your forearm is supported on the desk or armrest.
  • When typing, your fingers move more freely when they are level with or hang slightly below your wrists. Relax them.
  • Use a separate mouse rather than a touchpad as this allows for larger movements.
  • Let go of the mouse when you are not using it.
  • Try and take regular, short breaks or alternate the type of work you are doing as small repetitive movements are often the main cause of injury.

Remember that you have the power to change the comfort levels of your workspace. Follow the steps that we have discussed over the last few weeks to optimise your work set-up, do the appropriate stretches and see your doctor or physio if symptoms persist.

Wishing you a comfortable, productive and enjoyable time at the office - each and every day.