Home > Psychology > Tool to avoid the carpal tunnel syndrome

Tool to avoid the carpal tunnel syndrome

The carpal tunnel is a tunnel out of connective tissue between the bony forearm and hand. Through it go nerves, such as for movement of the fingers and haptic feedback of the hand. While using the mouse the wrist is strongly bended, causing a contraction of this nerve channel and over longer time nerves get damaged. Following effects are e.g. pain during and after use of the mouse, pain specifically at night (if the body rests) and decreased fine motor skills. Effects must be taken serious as they worsen with time and lead from an inflammation of the nerve in the beginning to permanent nerve damage.

A company brought a new product on the market for help. The product’s name is KAKUM. It looks like a mini sunlounger for the hand and meant to be flexible adjustable according to the supplier. Through its roundness it avoids the bend of the wrist and therewith avoids blockage of the carpal tunnel. Further on according to the supplier the material are of such a type that the device easily moves along the hand-movements when interacting with the mouse. This would also be an advantage of KAKUM compared to mouse-pads with wrist support. Source of the image is Yanko Design , here you also find more information about KAKUM.

KAKUM wrist support for mouse use

Yanko Design KAKUM wrist support for mouse use

Other means to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome are e.g. small tools reminding computer users to take breaks, mouse pads with wrist support, a trackball and regular training of the hand.

Breaks are not only to rest your hand but also your eyes. One of those tools is the freeware program Workrave. After a specified timeframe it reminds you to take a break from computer work. The duration of a break is adjustable from mini-breaks to longer breaks like lunch time. It offers the possibility to show exercises during the breaks. Download Workrave here.

Mouse pads with wrist support are bound to a small radius of mouse use (not suitable e.g. for a graphic designer who uses the mouse in wider space). They are not adjustable in height which makes them, speaking from my experience, sometimes uncomfortable.

A trackball is different to use. Similar to a mouse you lay your hands on the ergonomic shaped device. On the right side or directly in the middle you find a ball (more or less looking out of the device).  When the fingertips move the balls the mouse scrolls over the screen. Ensure that sensitiveness of scrolling is adjustable to your needs – not to sensitive scrolling but also not too hard. Some people like to have a scroll wheel at the trackball. It is known from a usual mouse and comfortable while reading a lot of text.

Trackball - example from Logitech

Trackball – example from Logitech

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