Pain in the wrists? – Switch to an Alternative Vertical Mouse

Evoluent Vertical Mouse Review
Vertical Mouse 4 (right handed) by Evoluent.com

Evoluent Vertical Mouse Review

Evoluent vertical mouse review spoiler: The Evoluent VerticalMouse 4 is a true alternative to your usual computer rodent.

More importantly, it has done a lot to help me beat RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury).

It certainly looks different, probably more than any other mouse you have ever seen.

It could be called a ‘side mouse’, because it turns the traditional design through 90 degrees.The buttons are on the side, rather than the top and your grip changes (see picture).

So without further ado, on with my Evoluent vertical mouse review…

This article originally appeared on HubPages. It was promoted to this blog due to its relevance.

Evoluent Vertical Mouse Review: I Love My Vertical Mouse

I’m very happy with my Evoluent vertical mouse, so much so that I have two of them: one for each hand.
I had never heard of it before it was recommended to me by an Occupational Health Nurse, who visited me in my workplace.
She was there to perform an assessment because I was complaining about discomfort/pain and weakness in my hands, wrists and forearms.
She sorted out my desk and chair, but then got the company to buy me this vertical mouse.
So why do I like it so much?
I like it because…
  1. It’s really comfortable and fits my hand like a glove
  2. It has all the buttons you’d expect, including a wheel, plus extras
  3. The buttons are programmable (with drivers installed)
  4. It’s very easy to adjust speed, buttons, etc
  5. It just works
P.S. You can read more about my “first impressions” of it here.

Evoluent Vertical Mouse Review: Avoiding Pains In Wrists

Evoluent Vertical Mouse Review - effect on forearm
Source: Evoluent.com

There’s one big reason why I think the Evoluent vertical mouse is better: avoiding pain in the wrist.The picture to the right (from Evoluent’s website), tells you all you need to know about why the Evoluent Vertical Mouse is better for your hands, wrists and forearms.

…at least it does if you are an anatomist.
…and thankfully, I do know my anatomy, since I used to be a Radiographer.
The two bones in your forearm are the Radius and Ulna and when you use a normal mouse your arm is pushed into a position where they are twisted over each other.
Of course, this is a perfectly natural position – most of the time.
The problem occurs when you keep on doing the same movement, or hold a position in an ongoing, repetitive way (hence the term “Repetitive Strain Injury“).
Evoluent claim that the vertical mouse puts your forearm in a more natural position (compared to a standard mouse) that is more comfortable, relaxing and therefore more likely to prevent RSI.
But what you really want to know is: “Does it actually work?”
In general, the answer from my own experience: “It certainly does!”
Try it, and I can almost guarantee (usual disclaimers notwithstanding) you will feel instant relief from wrist pain or discomfort.
Go on: you don’t even need a mouse in front of you to try the hand position!

Evoluent Vertical Mouse Review: Mouse Options

You’ll be pleased to know you can get different versions of the mouse:
  • Left, as well as right handed use
  • For smaller hands
  • A wireless variety

This means that no matter how big or small your hands are, or if you are a lefty (or “south paw”) like me, there is a model for you.As stated above, I have two of them (wired model): left and right.

My Very Own Alternative Mouse

Evoluent Vertical Mouse
Evoluent Vertical Mouse Side View

So here it is, seen from one side (right).

As Han Solo once said, “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts”.
As you can see, it has 3 buttons and a wheel.

A rocker-style switch is also included, just behind the main buttons.This allows you to change the tracking speed on the fly, instead of having to poke around in the software.

Note that all buttons are programmable with the installed Evoluent Mouse Driver software.

You may also notice that there is a bulge or “lip” where the base of the mouse sits on the desk.

This is where you can rest your little finger/pinky so that it doesn’t rub on the desk, while you move the mouse around.That third/right button is extra large, so it makes it easier to right-click with two fingers, rather than one.

They really have thought of everything.
To summarise features on this side:
  • Left, right and middle buttons
  • Wheel (doubles as extra button)
  • “Rocker” switch to increase/decrease mouse speed
  • Pinky/little finger rest
Evoluent Vertical Mouse Review - opposite side
Evoluent Vertical Mouse Reverse
You can see the opposite side of the mouse in this next picture.
This shows the following features:
  • Thumb rest (indented area)
  • Extra programmable buttons either side of the thumb rest
  • Lights to show the current tracking speed/resolution of the mouse
It may look unwieldy, but the thumb rest is part of what makes it comfortable.
The lights are a very useful indicator too, working in tandem with the aforementioned rocker switch.

Evoluent Vertical Mouse Review Conclusions (updated)

Now that I am used to it, I would never go back to a “standard” mouse.
Indeed, when I try other people’s mice, I find them very awkward and uncomfortable to use.
There are still a couple of minor issues with the Evoluent mouse:
  1. Sometimes the feeling of holding the mouse can feel like too strong a grip
  2. The pinky “ledge” on the side can encourage you to hold your arm up while using it
These two together can lead to discomfort in the forearm or shoulder.
However, making a conscious effort to relax (or using keyboard shortcuts) counters the grip problem, and using a mouse wrist rest deals with the other.
(I would never recommend a mouse wrist rest with a standard mouse, because it puts extra pressure on the soft tissues of the wrist. However, here it is fine, due to the changed wrist position.)
To be fair though, I have found that it tends to happen when I am already tired or stressed.
Taking breaks, having a couple of early nights and getting back into an exercise routine usually helps.
Update: Since I first reviewed the vertical mouse, I have moved further on in my quest for ergonomic purity and pain free computing.
At home, I have switched to an iMac and the Apple Magic Trackpad.
I find the Trackpad superior to the Evoluent mouse and I don’t need any extras, like the wrist rest.
Of course, I only have access to that at home and it only works on a Mac – at work, it’s back to the Windows PC, so vertical mouse it is.
In my opinion, I still have the best of both worlds.

Overall, I would highly recommend the Evoluent vertical mouse.If you have a Windows PC, then as far as I’m concerned, it’s a no brainer.

Resources

If you want to know more about the Evoluent Vertical Mouse, here are some links you may find of interest.
Question: How do you deal with wrist pain on your computer?

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