The Best Ergonomic Computer Mice and Mouse Alternatives for RSI and Other Hand and Wrist Injuries 2021

Computer mouse

It has long been known that a simple computer mouse is enemy number one for a person’s wrists, literally heavy use of a computer mouse puts a person at even greater risk of hand and problems than a keyboard. That means getting the right mouse is unbelievably important, as doing so can not only help stave off future problems, but can help alleviate already developed problems.

With that said, first thing’s first I am not going to recommend a roller mouse, I know that some people swear by them but in my view they simply require too much of the small kind of hand and wrist movements that put the small joints and ligaments in people’s hands and wrists at risk in the first place. At least that is my opinion anyhow, there will be those that differ.

Next, I used to think that touchpads were brilliant, I no longer do. I used one for years but have recently come to the conclusion that their negatives outweigh their benefits. I just feel that using a touchpad simply puts too much strain on the small joints and ligaments in your hands and wrists, meaning rather than alleviating problems they likely contribute to them.

There will be those who think differently but all I will say is press your finger down on the touchpad and notice how hard your wrist is working to allow the finger to make the movements that you need to make. Then imagine making those movements a lot, and consider that that movement puts strain on ligaments and joints that are not designed to take that level or type strain.

Moving on, so long as you haven’t torn your scapholunate ligament like I have, it is likely you won’t have ruled out using a handheld mouse. The best handheld mouse I have found is either a standard mouse, or the Evoluent Wireless Vertical Mouse, which is the mouse that most physiotherapist and medical practitioners recommend.

I can’t personally use a handheld mouse at all now, but if I was to recommend one it would definitely be this one mainly because since I first injured my right wrist back in 2008, it is the only handheld mouse that I have been able to even slightly use.

Evoluent Wireless Vertical Mouse

The genius of this mouse is in its design, it not only stops you from twisting your wrist and forearm which when using a standard mouse most people do, but by keeping your hand from touching the mat while you use it, it helps to make certain that you use your arm and shoulder to move the mouse rather than your wrists.

Evoluent Wireless Vertical Mouse

And it is using your wrists when moving the mouse that does the most damage, because it engages all the small joints and ligaments in your hands and wrists which simply cannot handle the repetitive and continued strain of using a mouse.

Just to note, there are different versions of it, namely a standard sized one and a smaller version, also you have the option of a wireless or wired version, so make certain if you are looking into getting this mouse that you research it properly to make certain that you get the one most suitable for you and your setup.

Here is the link to the mouse:

Other options for handheld computer mice

If the Evoluent Wireless Vertical Mouse is not to your liking, or is out of your price range, there are a few other options out there for a handheld mouse other than a standard mouse:

Anker AK-UBA 2.4G Wireless Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse

This is basically a cheaper alternative to the Evoluent Wireless Vertical Mouse, and in my view is without a doubt the best available of the cheaper options for a vertical mouse.

Here is the link to it:

Amazon Basics Ergonomic Wireless Mouse

If you’re looking for a standard mouse but with a little bit more of an ergonomic design then in my opinion you can’t go wrong with this offering by Amazon.

Here is the link to it:

Lychee Wireless Pen Mouse

Some people swear by pen mice, and the logic is understandable, by having a mouse which can hold pretty much like you would a pen it is easier to use your arm to use the mouse rather than your wrists. I’m not a fan of a mouse like this mainly because I feel the clicking of the buttons and the scroll function is awkward but that doesn’t mean that it is not the right one for you.

Here is a link to it:

3M EM500GPL Optical USB Ergonomic Wireless Mouse

This is most definitely a unique design, but it is not like it appears, which is like a joystick. Basically you hold what looks like the joystick and move it around the desk like a normal mouse.

With that said the claim is that it is clinically proven to reduce muscle strain and discomfort and the logic is sound, because of the way you grip it it is much more likely that you will use your arm and shoulder to move the mouse than your wrist, and it is using your wrist to control the mouse which is what more often than not what causes problems.

I have tried it and it is not for me, I don’t like the buttons specifically the one you press with your thumb, I’m not a fan at all of using your thumb for clicking as I believe it is just asking for trouble, but ignoring that the logic behind this mouse is sound, whether it is the right one for you though only you can know.

Here is the link to it:

None handheld computer mouse options

The thing about a computer mouse is when we think of one we always think of a handheld one, or at least I used to, but in the modern world there are many other options, ones that when added to a handheld one make using a handheld one much easier, and ones that I have to say that when used correctly almost make the choice of the handheld mouse option that you choose irrelevant.

This is because they have the power to take so much strain off your hands and wrists when using a hand-held mouse that the repetitiveness that causes problems in the first place is so limited that you are far less likely to have a problem in the first place.

These are the best available options I have found to either aid a handheld mouse or even replace one completely.

Tobii Eye Tracker 5

This is an unbelievably useful tool, and is a total game changer for when using a computer mouse. It is actually built for gaming but can also be used as a mouse, basically what you do is attach it at the bottom of your monitor, or at the bottom of a laptop, and then it’s eye tracking software means that where ever you look on the screen, the mouse pointer will go. For example, let’s say you are using a handheld mouse and you want to click on a link, all you have to do is move the mouse a little bit while looking where you want the mouse pointer to be, and the mouse pointer will instantly appear there.

Tobii Eye Tracker 5

What that means is immediately you are limiting the amount of movement that is required to get the mouse pointer to go where you want it to go. That means that you are protecting your hands and wrists while at the same time making it much easier to use your computer. So a total win-win.

I should add that it isn’t perfect, sometimes it just does not go where you want it to, and you do have to learn how to use it to get the best out of it, for example, in some of the reviews I read that some people were claiming it gave them headaches because they were having to stare at the place they wanted the mouse pointer to go. Other reviews claim that those getting the headaches were likely not using it properly because if they were then they wouldn’t be staring.

From my experience of using it I have to say I have not suffered any headaches, nor do I ever find myself staring, in fact, I find if you stare it doesn’t work, and in fact it does seem a little bit puzzling that it would directly cause a headache, the reason being if you use it properly in my view it is like you are not even using it at all, you’re just using the computer as you normally would, the only difference is it’s easier to get the mouse pointer to go where you want it to. But then who knows, but from my experience I don’t see why it would directly cause headaches.

I have also seen reviews of people saying that it is weird having to move their eyeballs about to move the mouse. But I find that I don’t move my eyeballs about intentionally, in fact, in my experience the best way to make it work like said is to just use the computer as normal. For example, when you use a normal mouse you look for the mouse pointer and then drag it over to the link you wish to click on, the only difference with the eye tracking software is that you don’t need to look for the mouse pointer because by looking at the link you wish to click on the mouse pointer ends up already there. So in reality the way I see it, there is less need to stare or move your eyeballs around. But again that is just in my experience, and everyone is of course different.

All in all, for a mouse admittedly it may seem a little pricey, a lot pricey in fact, but if you can afford it the benefits it can bring in regards to protecting your hands and wrists are without a doubt worth it, or at least I believe that they are. Like said for me this is a total game changer, and I have to say after using Tobii’s eye tracker going back to a computer without it in my view would be like going from fibre-optic broadband all the way back to dial-up connection.

So yes to say the least I’m a big fan of eye tracking hardware and software, and Tobii’s Eye Tracker 5 is the best affordable eye tracking option that I have found. And I have to say I super highly recommend it if you have hand and wrist problems, and I very much recommend it even if you don’t as it could help stave off hand and wrist problems while at the same time making using the computer a much more streamlined experience.

Here is the link to the eye tracker:

eViacam head tracking software

eViacam’s head tracking software is free and works with pretty much any WebCam, and considering how useful it is that makes it in my opinion an absolute must have for any person who has hand and wrist problems, or who wishes to avoid having hand and wrist problems in the future. Basically all you need for the software to work is a web cam, so if you have a web cam all you have to do is download the software and then enable it, and immediately you will have a program which allows you to use a mouse with your head movements.

eViacam head tracking software logo

Except here’s the caveat, in all honesty I do not think this software is much use really unless you also have eye tracking software like the Tobii Eye Tracker 5. Firstly, using head movements alone to control a mouse is just tedious, secondly, it hurts your neck.

The fact is your neck really does not like making small movements here there and everywhere which you need to do to move the mouse pointer using head movements, it also doesn’t not like being held exceptionally still at awkward angles so that you are able to keep the mouse pointer still enough to allow you to click on whatever it is you wish to click on.

Truth be told when added to the eye tracking software, like the one offered by the Tobii Eye Tracker 5, in my opinion this is a brilliant piece of software, because when combined with the Tobii Eye Tracking software, rather than having to move the mouse to get the mouse to go where you want it to, literally all you have to do is look where you want the mouse to be and the mouse will end up there, then from there all you have to do is use the mouse as you normally would do to hone in and click on whatever it is you want to click on.

So basically it is a free piece of software that makes eye tracking software like that which comes with the Tobii Eye Tracker 5 even better, namely because it means you can further limit the amount of times you have to use a handheld mouse. So on its own in my view it’s just not really much use, and you risk hurting your neck, but added to eye tracking software like the Tobii Eye Tracker 5 it is brilliant.

This is the link to the software: eViacam head tracking software

Just to note, if you don’t have a WebCam, any decent one will work but this is the one that I would recommend to get the best out of the software, the Logitech StreamCam:

Precision Gaze Mouse

This is another piece of free software, and in reality is for people who can’t use a mouse at all. To use it you have to have both an eye tracker and a WebCam. Or rather you can use it with only one or the other, but it will simply work better with both. In my view a lot better with both.

Precision gaze mouse logo

The way it works is that basically your head movement and eyes become the mouse, so wherever you look on screen the mouse will go. However, because of this it can be terribly frustrating, or rather literally the mouse will go wherever you look, meaning wherever you are looking at on screen the mouse pointer will be and it will keep following you.

That means if you turn your head slightly to the left, the mouse pointer will go to the left, it means if you turn your head slightly to the right, the mouse pointer will move to the right, it means if you are reading something the mouse pointer will always be on the exact part of the text you are looking at and will follow your eyes as you read the text. So yeah it can be extremely annoying.

But, there is a way around this, there is a mode where the mouse is only activated when you press a certain button, so basically when you want the mouse to wake up, you press the button, use the mouse, then switch it off.

And here is the genius of it, the button that you press can be pressed using speech recognition software. To explain, basically what you do is set a button to activate the mouse, which is really easy to do using Precision Gaze’s software, then using the speech recognition software, like for example say Dragon NaturallySpeaking, what you do is say press whatever that button is, and that’s it. The mouse will come to life, you look where you want to look, the mouse goes there, then you use the speech recognition software and say click that link or whatever, or if you have the hover feature on you simply hold the mouse pointer there long enough for the automatic click to kick in. So this is yet again another piece of free software that alone is not that good but when combined with other options can be brilliant.

Another option is of course to use a foot pedal, something I will come to a little bit later on in this post, but basically you choose a keyboard command that when pressed activates the mouse pointer, then set the foot pedal to that keyboard command, then any time you wish to use the mouse all you have to do is press the foot pedal down and it will activate.

All in all it is indisputable that this is a brilliant piece of software, and if you can’t use your hands, or if there are times when you can’t use your hands, it can be extremely useful. Will it be of any use to people who don’t have problems with their hands and wrists, very unlikely. Will it be any use to those who don’t have big problems, highly unlikely. But for those that do have big problems it can be a useful tool to add to the arsenal.

This is the link to the software: Precision Gaze Mouse

Quha Zono Mouse

I have this mouse, and to say that it is expensive would be an understatement, it works using a gyroscope and it has to be said that it is very clever but unless you absolutely need it like I do you probably do not want to be getting it. Here is why, unless you’re a paralytic it is only of any use if you’re going to use it on your foot, at least that is my view anyhow.

Quha Zono Mouse logo

To explain, if you attach it to your head and use head movement to control the mouse pointer, then you are paying a fortune for something that is not as good as an eye tracker like the Tobii Eye Tracker 5 and the free head tracking software by eViacam, which combined are a lot cheaper. The advantage of course is that you gain mobility, so whereas with eye and head tracking hardware and software you need to be sat in the right place and with good lighting, with this mouse you don’t. With this mouse you don’t even need to be looking at the computer to make it work.

That means for people with mobility issues it is brilliant. But for those who just simply have hand and wrist injuries it is just not so, and here’s why. You can use it in a number of different ways, like said attached to your head where you can use head movements to move the mouse, attached to your wrist, where you can use wrist movements to move the mouse, and attached to your foot, where you can use foot movements to move the mouse.

But here’s the thing, if you use it attached to your head it can cause you to suffer from neck ache, mainly because just like with the head tracking software, to get the mouse pointer to stay still you have to hold your head really still. Meaning if you want to click on something you have to first twist your head around until the mouse pointer is on the thing that you want to click on, then you have to hold your head super still in that exact position to click on it. And here is the thing, like I said in regards to the head tracking software, the twisting and then the holding simply hurts your neck, or at least I have found it to.

This same problem exists when you use it with your hands, meaning if you have a wrist injury or trouble with your hands this mouse can be a disaster. This is because the fact of the matter is to get the mouse to hone in long enough for you to click on something, you have to really hold the mouse super still, which is just simply not healthy for your wrists. Or at least I don’t think it is, after all the point is to try to reduce the strain on the small joints and ligaments in your hands and wrists, and yet if you’re using all of them to keep your hand super still, you are not reducing that strain you are simply putting a different sort of strain on it.

The final place you can use it is on your foot, but even being used on your foot is troublesome, and that’s because the fact of the matter is this mouse will in all probability end up causing you pain in your knees if you use it a lot, I know that because using this mouse caused me problems in both of my knees. The movements that you make are simply not natural, also the fact that you are constantly moving your foot up and down while twisting left and right in unnatural movements means you are putting a lot of strain on your knee. That may seem crazy, having a mouse attached to your foot hurting your knee, but I assure you that there is a high probability that any person who uses this on their foot will understand.

That means if you use this mouse on your head, you risk having problems with your neck, if you use this mouse on your hand, you risk having problems with your hands and wrists, and if you use this mouse on your foot, you risk having problems with your knee.

Considering all this, it may seem odd that I am actually recommending this mouse, and I am and do recommend it, but only in certain circumstances and when combined with other aids. To explain, I’m recommending it only as a tool for those who can’t use a handheld mouse. Basically, if you add this mouse to the eye tracking and head tracking hardware and software, then all you have to do is slightly move your foot as a means of honing the mouse in. This means you put very little strain on your knee and avoid having to use the Precision Gaze Mouse software.

The way it works when combined with the eye tracking and head tracking hardware and software, is that you move your head slightly which as a result of the head tracking software activates the mouse, the eye tracking software then kicks in and brings the mouse into the vicinity of whatever it is you want to click on, you then use this mouse either attached to your hand or foot to take over and hold the mouse in place for long enough for you to either use a foot pedal or speech recognition software and click on whatever it is you want to click on.

So basically this is a highly useful mouse but only if you can’t use a handheld mouse at all, which I can’t. And only when added to head tracking and eye tracking software. So if you are like me and a handheld mouse is no good, despite the ridiculous price of this mouse, it is what I have found to be the best option out there. Namely because it is in my opinion the best mouse available which you can use on your foot.

Here is the link to the mouse:

Foot pedal

Foot pedals are highly useful if like I do you have trouble with your hands and wrists. Basically you can link any button to the foot pedal, for example I have a foot pedal which has three pedals, and I’ve assigned one button to work as a left mouse click, and the other two buttons to work as the up and down arrows from the keyboard.

My reason for doing this is because scrolling up and down using speech recognition software is simply a hassle, so having a foot pedal just makes life easier because to scroll up and down all you have to do is press the pedals. Also, though I mostly use the speech recognition software for the left mouse click, if I need to drag things around on-screen, because I don’t use a handheld mouse, it is simply easier to use the foot pedal than relying on the speech recognition software.

There are other great uses for foot pedals as well, even for those who don’t have hand and wrist problems, for example let’s say that you need to press a certain button a lot of times over, the foot pedal can massively reduce the strain and repetitiveness of having to press that button repeatedly, namely because you can split the workload of pressing that button between your hand and your foot.

In reality variation is the best way of avoiding repetitive strain injuries and thus problems with your hands and wrists, and foot pedals are a great tool for providing variation. And one of the best things about foot pedals is compared to other options they are definitely one of the cheapest available.

KKMOON 3 pedal USB foot pedal switch

To be honest for my research there is not much to separate one foot pedal from another, but of the options available this is the one that I felt was best. It has three pedals and is very easy to use and set up. Also the pedals despite being perhaps a little bit springy are responsive and do the job.

Here is the link to the foot pedal:

Just to note, the software for this pedal comes on a disc, and does not provide a link to where you can download it online, but it is available to download online from the manufacturer’s website, which is the following link: PC Sensor software

Drawing tablet

Basically even though predominantly drawing tablets are for drawing, so for people using things like Adobe Photoshop et cetera et cetera, they can actually be used for other things. For example, before my injuries got really bad I used to use a drawing tablet to edit videos for YouTube. But also you can actually use one to write text rather than type, which some people find easier. So basically instead of using the keyboard, you handwrite what you want to say and the words you write get translated into a standard document which you can do whatever you want with.

A person using a drawing tablet

A drawing tablet can also be used basically as a mouse, so you can use for browsing or whatever you want to use it for. Basically just think of it like a touchscreen second monitor which you can use with a pen. But only with a pen. One thing that needs to be remembered with a drawing tablet is the fact that it is not like a standard touchscreen device, that means that you can’t use it with your hands, you have to use the pen that comes with it.

If you wish to a standard touchscreen device to control a desktop, the best bet is of course is if you have Windows 10 using a standard tablet and using Microsoft’s Miracast to link that tablet to your computer. Miracast basically allows you to connect any Windows 10 device to another Windows 10 device. So for example you can connect a Microsoft surface tablet to a desktop.

Anyhow back to drawing tablets, the best one that I have found in the affordable price ranges without question is the XP-PEN Artist12 Pro Graphics Drawing Tablet 11.6″.

XP-PEN Artist12 Pro Graphics Drawing Tablet 11.6″

This is a brilliant drawing tablet, it is easy to connect up and is highly receptive, which is important because when you use the pen you want it to be as accurate as possible. And this is. I don’t really need to go into detail because in reality there is not really much to say other than if you do get this, make certain that you have a big enough set up to handle it because it really is designed for use on a desk not on your lap.

XP-PEN Artist12 Pro Graphics Drawing Tablet 11.6"

You can of course use it on your lap if you wish but as I have hand and wrist problems using it on your lap is not what I would recommend. That means you can use it on your lap if you wish but it’s better if used on a desk.

One important factor to note about drawing tablets, you need to have the right HDMI connector point to make them work, which is an HDMI output not an HDMI input port. Also this tablet is available in different sizes i.e. there are bigger and smaller versions available, so make certain that if you do get this you get the one that is most suited to you.

Here is the link to the tablet:

Final words

All in all if you are a frequent user of a hand-held mouse, if you wish to avoid having hand and wrist problems later in life, getting the right one is so important, hopefully this post will have provided some options. Specifically in regards to providing options for handheld alternatives that lower the workload of your hands and wrists.

Because in my opinion that is without doubt the best way to help protect your hands and wrists, lowering the amount of time you actually have to use a mouse with your hands and wrists.

And I have to say, and I know I’m mentioning this again but I just feel that I wished I’d known about this a long time ago, if there is one tool out there that I believe is game changing for helping to stave off RSI and other hand and wrist injuries while using a computer mouse, it is the eye tracking hardware and software.

Literally I cannot recommend it enough. It will make using a computer much easier and at the same time will massively lessen the strain of using a computer mouse with your hands and wrists. At least that is my opinion anyhow.

With that said that’s all from me for today, stay safe!

Published by David Graham

Sci-fi and fantasy writer, blogger and photographer emanating from the north-east of England.

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