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We spend our working lives sat down in front of a computer for eight, 10, 12… hours a day, so it's no surprise that the TrustedReviews team has had its fair share of RSI problems. Aching shoulders, sore wrists, crook lower backs, and dodgy necks; we've seen them all. So, whenever a new product comes along claiming to help alleviate RSI related aches and pains, we sit up straight and pay attention.
The 3M Ergonomic Mouse (Ergo Mouse), is the latest in a long line of pointing devices designed to help reduce the hand, wrist, elbow and arm pains associated with using a traditional mouse. It aims to do this by reducing the amount of twist in your wrist and by removing pressure from the heel of your hand - and it's pretty obvious how it goes about doing this.
Where a normal mouse requires you to hold your hand flat to the desk, thus twisting your wrist approximately 60 degrees from its natural position and leaving it resting on the desk, the Ergo Mouse's joystick-like design allows you to hold your hand as close as possible to its neutral posture - wrist and thumb both straight and relaxed; fingers curled and at rest - while having its heel float above the desk.
The buttons are also positioned so that you don't have to flex your fingers from the neutral posture in order to reach them, though you obviously still have to flex to press them. In contrast, when using a conventional mouse (at least, when holding it as I do) your fingers are almost constantly flexed from your hand's neutral posture, and they have to move even more to reach and operate the buttons/scroll wheel. This can result in finger pain, and even muscle contracture and reduced mobility.
Giving the Ergo Mouse a go, the benefits of this more relaxed hand position were immediately obvious to me as the reduction in pressure on the heel of my hand alleviated the niggling pains I get there. Meanwhile the more natural wrist position reduced overall tension in the general forearm area. Even my finger pain was reduced. Quite simply, this thing definitely works when it comes to reducing pain. Sadly, it's somewhat less accomplished when it comes to most of the other traits we look for in a good mouse/pointing device.
Most obviously, due to the way in which you hold the Ergo Mouse, you have to use your whole arm to move it, making it difficult to use accurately. So whereas a good mouse will enable you to move around your desktop in lightening quick speed, the Ergo Mouse requires a more ponderous approach. Obviously with a bit of practice you will become more accurate but we nearly always found that a quick movement could only get us within about an inch of where we were aiming and we'd have to slow right down to zero in on it.
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