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Hand Problem with a Trackball
Old 10-10-2007, 07:35 AM   #1
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Hand Problem with a Trackball

I guess I have been spending too much time on the Computer. It seems I have developed a very painful right hand. Not the entire hand just the part where the ring and little finger connects to the hand. It came on suddenly and I have tried some exercises just squeezing a lacrosse ball -- that did not work at all. Thinking it may be computer related as I have used a Right Handed Track Ball for years. I could not switch that to the left hand and operate it so I went out and purchased a new trackball that can be operated either on the left or right side of the keyboard. Currently I am operating it on the left hand side of the keyboard (which is a bit of a learning process).

I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem with either a mouse or a trackball and if switching hands resulted in lessening or put an end to the problem?

Since it does not involve the wrist I am thinking it is not CTS.
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Old 10-10-2007, 08:51 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by R Wood View Post
I guess I have been spending too much time on the Computer. It seems I have developed a very painful right hand. Not the entire hand just the part where the ring and little finger connects to the hand. It came on suddenly and I have tried some exercises just squeezing a lacrosse ball -- that did not work at all. Thinking it may be computer related as I have used a Right Handed Track Ball for years. I could not switch that to the left hand and operate it so I went out and purchased a new trackball that can be operated either on the left or right side of the keyboard. Currently I am operating it on the left hand side of the keyboard (which is a bit of a learning process).

I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem with either a mouse or a trackball and if switching hands resulted in lessening or put an end to the problem?

Since it does not involve the wrist I am thinking it is not CTS.
My magic, crystal ball says repetitive strain injury, possibly tendonitis; ask your doctor about an initial approach of rest, maybe a wrist splint, ibuprofen. These things can last a while even with sensible care - weeks, perhaps. Just a guess, and see my signature line .

Good luck.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 10-10-2007, 09:10 AM   #3
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Rich, thanks and I was hoping you would respond. Notwithstanding your signature line all of your information is great.

I do have an annual visit to the doctor scheduled for next Tuesday and talk to him about it.

Thanks again.
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Old 10-10-2007, 11:06 AM   #4
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Might wanna try a nice ergonomic laser mouse too. Those trackballs hurt my hands also.
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Old 10-10-2007, 11:26 AM   #5
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R,

Yes, I had that problem, switched to the left hand, and solved the problem.

I was using a mouse in the right hand, 11+ hours per day, and had problems in arm and shoulder. I got a trackball, put it on the left, got the location just right, and my problem was solved.

I was significantly slower at first, but after a month or so I had gotten used to it. Perhaps not quite as fast as with the dominant hand mouse, but perfectly reasonable.

I had also tried a foot mouse, but that didn't work because the hardware wasn't well-designed. I do think that an intelligently designed foot mouse could be better than any hand-based pointer, since you wouldn't have to take your hands off the keyboard.

Now I'm retired, use the laptop a few hours a day plus piano a few hours a day, and don't have any arm/shoulder problems.

Good luck.
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Old 10-10-2007, 02:01 PM   #6
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It is possible that the hand pain is just a symptom of a problem elsewhere. I had some neck and shoulder pain that would then also go to my hand. I figured it was the computer and mouse, but changing things never did much good.

It did go away, I can't be certain, but I think an exercise I was doing was causing some stress on my neck. Doctor ran me through some motions and had me push against his hand in various ways, and he ruled out some problems. Gave me 20 Celebrex and said see what happens. The pills did almost nothing, but I also stopped doing the weights I was lifting with my arms/shoulders. Got a little better, ran out of pills and still OK. A year later I started those weights and started feeling the problem again. I need to go back and try one at a time or something, or work with a real weight trainer, or something. Or nothing (my current plan).

Anyway - there can be some non-obvious interactions sometimes.

Good luck, hope you find out what it is. - ERD50
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Old 10-10-2007, 07:40 PM   #7
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I second the laser mouse recommendation, they reduce hand strain and increase speed and accuracy.

Personal fave is about 80 bucks

Second best is about 30 - here's a picture.

Both these logitech mice have a solid feel and are really durable - a big plus. The red one has a usb dongle that allows you to easily unplug and move from machine to machine.

I have found that a track ball mouse causes muscle strain in my hand and lower arm.
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Old 10-10-2007, 07:49 PM   #8
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Sore hands and wrists are my clue it's time to go see my chiropractor. Everything goes back into alignment and no more pain in the hands and wrists until many more hours at my desk and computer.
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Old 10-11-2007, 01:12 AM   #9
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I second the laser mouse recommendation, they reduce hand strain and increase speed and accuracy.

Personal fave is about 80 bucks

Second best is about 30 - here's a picture.

Both these logitech mice have a solid feel and are really durable - a big plus. The red one has a usb dongle that allows you to easily unplug and move from machine to machine.

I have found that a track ball mouse causes muscle strain in my hand and lower arm.
I use the MX1000 too, and I love it. Pretty hardcore gamer too, so I need a good mouse that is easy on the hands.
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:57 AM   #10
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I heard of an ergonomics doc who made his point like this:

1. Press your left-hand fingers against the right side your chest, near your shoulder.
2. Use a mouse -- feel how much is going on (muscles moving, bones moving, etc).
3. Now, use a trackball -- not much happening there, huh?

I guess the point is that if you don't move it, it won't wear out.

P.S. same idea with a touchpad on a laptop.
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