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Switch It Up: How Changing Mouse Hands Can Ease Your Discomfort

Are you finding it difficult to use your computer mouse due to a cast or splint on your dominant arm? Or maybe you're experiencing discomfort from extended computer use, and you're concerned about the possibility of developing a repetitive strain injury? In either case, switching your mouse to your non-dominant hand might be just the solution you need to alleviate your discomfort and prevent potential issues.

You might have noticed that traditional keyboards have the number keypad on the right, making the keyboard longer on that side. This means that when you use a mouse on the right, your arm has to stretch further away from your body, adopting an abducted position that can cause discomfort over time. By simply moving the mouse to the left of the keyboard, you can maintain a more natural and relaxed position for your left arm, reducing the strain on your right arm and shoulder. Additionally, this change allows your right hand to remain free for using the number keypad and keyboard shortcuts, maximising your productivity while minimising discomfort.

Don't worry, using your non-dominant hand for the mouse might be easier than you think! Here are some helpful tips for a smooth transition:

  1. Choose a mouse that's suitable for both hands. While some ergonomic mice are designed specifically for right-hand use, most basic computer mice can be used with either hand.

  2. Adjust your computer settings to recognise the mouse in your left hand. This will swap the default mouse button functions so that the right click is used for selection and dragging. Just remember to press the opposite button when following instructions (e.g., if asked to right-click something).

  3. Keep in mind that you might still need your dominant hand for precision tasks. Many people find that their non-dominant hand never quite matches the fine control of their dominant hand, even with practice.

  4. Be patient and give yourself time to adapt. It may take a few days to get comfortable and a couple of weeks for it to feel natural.

If you need help with adaptive equipment or an ergonomic assessment of your workspace, our friendly and caring team at Riverina Hand Therapy is here to assist you. Feel free to contact us at 02 6925 0157 for personalised support and expert advice.


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