How to Avoid Mouse Hand Pain

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

A friend got mouse hand pain, and asking me for suggestion.

xah ergo mouse question 2020-04-29 35tbd
ergo mouse question 2020-04-29

Here's another person who got mouse hand pain, and asking for suggestion.

As you can tell, I am an avid gamer. But what I spend most of my time doing is work — a constant cycle of mouse → keyboard → moused keyboard… 1000s of times a day.

My wrists are on fire and I want to prevent any further damage if possible.

[from reddit mouse nerd looking for first trackball trigger]

Here is some suggestions.

How You Hold Mouse Can Cause Pain

How you hold the mouse can have major impact on hand health.

Turn on Auto Click

Turn on Mouse Hover Activate Window or Auto Click. I've been using auto click for about 11 years (since 2009).

This lets you to move cursor to a window to activate the window. Or, it'll does a click when the cursor stops moving.

This will take 2 weeks to get used to. But is extremely helpful for avoiding mouse pain. With the feature on, you almost never need to click.

You need to be persistent. Also, the delay time for the auto click should be at least 0.5 seconds.

For setup, see:

Ban Double Click

Make every thing single click.

To setup, see:

MacOS does not have single click feature. You can buy a programable mouse and program one of the button to do double click. See Mouse Reviews

Trackball, Touchpad, Drawing Tablet

Try to use a ergonomic mouse, or trackball or touchpad.

Try Left Hand

If you have bad hand pain, learn to use a mouse/trackball/touchpad on left hand. Try it for a month.

You can also have 2 pointing devices, one of left hand one of right hand. Use whichever is convenient.

Programable Keypad

Get a programable keypad. It can be 20 keys or 30 keys keypad. Program all Control Alt Cmd combinations to a single key press. Such as all shortcuts used in browser or photoshop, closing tab, switching tab, switch window, etc. This way, mouse activities of aiming and clicking becomes single key press.

[see Programable Keypad]

Holding Trackball

Note about trackball, there are similar issues about how you hold it. Bad habit can create hand pain.

For thumb trackball, many people got thumb pain due to moving thumb too much. Try to not move your fingers or wrist, but use whole hand to move ball, so reducing thumb movement.

For fingertip trackball, you are prone to have same issue as mouse, namely, pronation. (palm down) Solution is, again, try to use trackball while palm is 30 degree. Or put a wedge under it so it tilts 30 degree. And when not actively actually using it, don't touch the trackball.


If using a trackpad, make it touch to click.

Problem with Vertical Mouse

With vertical mouse, when you press the button, now you have to exert force. Before, you just press down, but now, you have to squeeze it, with your thumb. This creates stress.

So, i don't recommend mouse that's too vertical.

How to Chose a Mouse

Typing Habits, Repetitive Strain Injury

Habit, Injury

Mouse Pain

emacs, vi, RSI