I tried using a vertical mouse for 2 weeks

Alex Pak
4 min readJun 11, 2020

And the pain made me want to see a doctor 👩🏻‍⚕️

Logitech MX Vertical
Photo by Logitech

Computer Elbow

Desk with Magic Trackpad
Photo by Maxwell Nelson on Unsplash

For many years I have been using Apple’s Magic Trackpad for my work 8–10 hours a day without any issues until recently when my wrist and forearm started to hurt.

After a quick Google search, I found out that it was a very common problem known as “Computer Elbow”, and if not treated by a lifestyle change, it only gets worse.

It was at that moment when I decided to explore the ergonomics of work desks, computers, and perriferals.

Ergonomics

Human factors and ergonomics (commonly referred to as human factors) is the application of psychological and physiological principles to the engineering and design of products, processes, and systems. The goal of human factors is to reduce human error, increase productivity, and enhance safety and comfort with a specific focus on the interaction between the human and the thing of interest.[1]

After studying ergonomics on the Internet, I started to apply the knowledge to my workspace — a new desk, a higher monitor stand, a more comfortable chair, a footrest, regular breaks, walks and stretches. I even switched my hands and used the trackpad with my left hand from time to time.

All that was good but it didn’t reduce the pain in my forearm, in fact, it was getting worse.

I couldn’t drastically change my lifestyle to avoid using computers because that’s how I make a living. So I searched for ergonomic mice.

Vertical mouse

After carefully reading about various kinds of ergonomic mice, I decided to purchase Logitech MX Vertical — an ergonomic vertical mouse that they claim was designed to reduce muscle strain, decrease wrist pressure, and improve posture.

The price of this mouse was $99 — quite expensive but still cheaper than my Magic Trackpad which costs $149.

Logitech MX Vertical
Photo by Logitech

Surprisingly, it didn’t take as much time as I thought to get used to the shape of the mouse. Although unusual, it was quite comfortable to use.

The precision was not ideal, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to use it as my primary tool, so my idea was to switch between the trackpad and the mouse when I needed more precision and gesture controls (mainly for my design work).

After using the mouse for almost 2 weeks, I experienced terrible pain in my thumb. The pain came suddenly, and it was very intense. I couldn’t hold anything for several days and had to forget about working out for at least a week.

It turned out that although the mouse did help with my forearm and wrist, it brought me a completely new problem, and I didn’t want to continue the experiment.

My current setup

I returned the mouse after experiencing the pain. I was quite upset and didn’t know what to do.

Google search for “the best wireless mouse 2020”

I googled hoping to find another solution, and found another mouse from Logitech — this time it was MX Master 3.

There was a lot of promotion for this mouse, almost every website and YouTube video described it as the best mouse. The promotion was obviously sponsored by Logitech, but I decided to give it a try anyway.

Logitech MX Master 3
Photo by Logitech

I’ve been using MX Master 3 for a long time now, and I can say that it really is a great mouse — it’s comfortable to use, has a great scrolling wheel, it’s fully customizable, it allows me to quickly switch between 3 paired devices — my Mac mini, MacBook Air and iPad Pro, and most importantly, it helped relieve the pain, and I could finally get back to work.

Although the mouse is really great, I still use Apple’s trackpad with my left hand for gestures, and I will continue to use it for my design work, because nothing beats the comfort of Magic Trackpad so far, especially for designing mobile apps and websites. But I will certainly rely on MX Master with all other tasks.

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