Mice more than a molehill

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Researchers find arm supports help relieve pressures of computer use.

Researchers have crunched a lot of data figuring out the best ways to support hands and arms as they type on computer keyboards. The problem is that the users tend to use mouse twice than the keyboards, said Jack Dennerlein, a professor in Bouv College of Health Sciences at Nourtheastern University. So he and his colleagues at Harvard School of Public Health and Kettering University cracked the issue in “Effects of Forearm and Palm Supports on the Upper Extremity During Computer Mouse Use,” which is published in Applied Ergonomics.

The paper also tackled a controversy in ergonomic world. Many practitioners believe that arm support isn’t critical for the computer users, and some said otherwise. The paper’s data showed that arm support reduce shoulder flexion torques by 90% compared to no support. The support needs to be at the right height when it is used, it has to be at the same height as the elbow, therefore it will keep user’s body at neutral position. Researchers also use palm support to reduce the wrist extension.

Dennerlein said more research is needed to determine the best type of mouse, but trackballs are nice alternatives. In this research, he also said that we should not rest on the middle of our wrists. Instead, rest on the schapoid bone, the bone on the lower right on your right hand with the palm facing up.