I’ve mentioned in passing over the last few weeks I am getting over surgery necessary after a combination of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and a painful ganglion on my wrist became a bit too much to bear.
8 weeks on, I am still somewhat in pain that swings between excruciating and annoying on a regular basis. The surgeon has sent me off to the local hospital’s “Hand Specialist” – yes there is such a discipline in medicine believe it or no – and the medication in concert with physio and good old-fashioned heat compresses is slowly starting to work.
If anyone doubts that this infliction, a supposed invention of typists in the 70s, is just a malingerer’s disease of the mind, I urge you to think again.
It bloody hurts and is incapacitating. 12 months ago, I could type all day, lay out Australian Videocamera in Adobe InDesign down to almost pixel precision and then spend some time gaming on the XBOX or PS4.
Now I am hard pressed to type 500 words, and in no way do I have the speed I used to. I simply must stop after about an hour as the pain becomes too much and in a worst-case scenario, the next day I cannot do anything at all.
Which leads me neatly onto mice.
You see, the pain first started to manifest when doing intense mousing in InDesign. My wrist would cramp up and send pain shooting up my arm. This was the time I first got a tad more interested in exactly what mouse I would use.
I quickly discovered that a switch from the Logitech I was using (the cream coloured one in the photo) to a smaller mouse (the red one) made a difference and I stuck with this for about a year.
I did flirt with “pen mouse” for a period as I had used one in the 80s and I do like the concept, but sadly the drivers for this one were just too erratic when using the “wheel” operation so I discarded it for day-to-day use.
A trackball is pretty useless for InDesign work, and even worse than an ash tray on a motor bike for video editing, so this was not even a consideration which is a shame as because you only really use your fingertips: potentially at least, it is possibly the best type of mouse.
Then Logitech told me of a new super-ergonomic one they had just released, the MX Upright. I got one in – review here – and it seemed to do the trick very nicely thank you. I could spend some serious time working with it before inevitably pain did set in. This also caused sleepless nights and the ingesting of much Ibuprofen – the doctor did give me a prescription for Codeine but I ain’t touching that stuff!
This compounds the problem of course and you end up in a vicious circle.
So, I would suggest most strongly, that if you have as yet to realise any symptoms, this is the one to get to prevent any future flare ups and the nasty consequences.
After the operation however, the MX Vertical just was not that comfortable as the wrist angle was putting pressure on the incision spots (I had two) so I went back to the cream mouse for a period.
However yesterday, the latest Logitech turned up, their whizzbang new MX Master3, which is like the MX Vertical in design, just not as “tall” and has a wheel under the thumb as well as under the index finger. The precision is also fantastic on any surface I have thrown at it.
And joy of joys, it is comfortable to use. That more “squatness” than the MX Vertical gives is not as harsh on the incision points that are still tender although the scars are almost healed.
I don’t think any mouse design is going to be perfect for everyone, and the same applies to keyboards for that matter, so I strongly recommend that you try out a few and see what is best.
But for gawd’s sake, please don’t just get a $10 wonder from Woollies or Coles. It really in the long term is just not worth it.
A good mouse, whilst not inexpensive, really should be treated as an investment much like a proper chair is, or even something like a helmet for skateboarders or serious eye protection if you are an outside worker.