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best computer mouse for arthritic hands

What is the Best Computer Mouse for Arthritic Hands?

It is no secret that using a computer mouse a lot causes hands and wrists to ache. This is especially true in our high tech society. It seems like a computer is required for even the most basic tasks. Because of this Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) are a common problem. But, add the pain of arthritic fingers and wrists and using a mouse can become unbearable. Clicking buttons and moving a mouse feels impossible with arthritis. Don't give up though - there are solutions. I am going to help you find the best computer mouse for arthritic hands!

Comparison Chart: Best Computer Mouse for Arthritic Hands

Photo
Hippus Wireless Light Click HandShoe Mouse (Right Hand, Medium, Black)
3M Wired Ergonomic Optical Mouse, Patented Vertical Grip Design Keeps Your Hand and Wrist at a...
Kensington Expert Wireless Trackball Mouse (K72359WW)
Adesso Easy Cat 2 Button Glidepoint Touchpad (Black)
Product
Hippus Wireless Light Click HandShoe Mouse (Right Hand, Medium, Black)
3M Wired Ergonomic Optical Mouse, Patented Vertical Grip Design Keeps Your Hand and Wrist at a...
Kensington Expert Wireless Trackball Mouse (K72359WW)
Adesso Easy Cat 2 Button Glidepoint Touchpad (Black)
Mini-Review
This mouse supports the whole hand and has a cradle for the thumb and pinky finger. This high level of support reduces stress and pain on joints.
This mouse works like a joystick allowing the hand to naturally wrap around it. This reduces pain by tight grasps or extending the fingers.
Trackballs work by rolling a large ball with the fingers or the palm. This helps ease pain in arthritic hands by giving a choice of how to control it.
Touchpads are the same as the built-in mouse pads on laptop computers. If you can point a finger or move a knuckle, you can use a touchpad.
Photo
Hippus Wireless Light Click HandShoe Mouse (Right Hand, Medium, Black)
Product
Hippus Wireless Light Click HandShoe Mouse (Right Hand, Medium, Black)
Mini-Review
This mouse supports the whole hand and has a cradle for the thumb and pinky finger. This high level of support reduces stress and pain on joints.
Photo
3M Wired Ergonomic Optical Mouse, Patented Vertical Grip Design Keeps Your Hand and Wrist at a...
Product
3M Wired Ergonomic Optical Mouse, Patented Vertical Grip Design Keeps Your Hand and Wrist at a...
Mini-Review
This mouse works like a joystick allowing the hand to naturally wrap around it. This reduces pain by tight grasps or extending the fingers.
Photo
Kensington Expert Wireless Trackball Mouse (K72359WW)
Product
Kensington Expert Wireless Trackball Mouse (K72359WW)
Mini-Review
Trackballs work by rolling a large ball with the fingers or the palm. This helps ease pain in arthritic hands by giving a choice of how to control it.
Photo
Adesso Easy Cat 2 Button Glidepoint Touchpad (Black)
Product
Adesso Easy Cat 2 Button Glidepoint Touchpad (Black)
Mini-Review
Touchpads are the same as the built-in mouse pads on laptop computers. If you can point a finger or move a knuckle, you can use a touchpad.

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 04:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What is the Problem with a Standard Computer Mouse?

Because computers are becoming easier to use, many seniors are using them for the first time. Often though, those with arthritis in the hands struggle using a mouse. Computer mice (or, is it mouses? meese? meeses?​ I don't know!) position the hand in a bit of an unnatural position. The usual hand position of a mouse causes stress on the forearms, wrist and thumb. It rotates your hand out of its natural line with your hand,

To see what I mean, do this: hold your hand and arm straight out like you are shaking someone's hand. Feels natural with no stress on your joints, right? Now, rotate your hand 90 degrees​ until it is palm down. Can you now feel the stress in your forearm and wrist? This is not the best position for a hand and wrist. Especially the long amount of time people use computers.

For arthritis suffers, tender and swollen joints add finger and thumb pain to the problem. Clicking buttons and rolling track wheels requires flexible finger movements. Put simply, this just plain hurts for people with arthritic joints.

Arthritis can also limit how far the joints move. In some cases, this can make using a standard mouse impossible. The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Association in the UK has a great article about computer use with arthritis that is worth a quick read.

​So, What are the Solutions for Pain While Using a Mouse

There are lots of suggestions out there for choosing the best computer mouse for arthritic hands. But, many of them base their recommendation on a mistaken belief: if you reduce RSI (repetitive stress injury) pain, it will help with arthritis too. 

I work with seniors every day as a power wheelchair provider. Many have arthritis and I have to take that into account with their wheelchair controls. They often have to hold the joystick differently. Often, I have to come up with alternative ways to push small buttons. Because of this experience, I take a different stance.

Will an ergonomic mouse help?

A common solution floating out there in internet-land is to just go get an ergonomic mouse. But I disagree. Ergonomic mice are NOT designed to help finger and joint pain. Their main purpose is to reduce pain from RSI (repetitive stress injuries).

The goal here for the person with arthritis is to reduce the number of small joint movements that are required. Another goal is to position the hand to reduce the stress on the finger and thumb joints.

Ergonomic mice with little thumb track balls are not the answer. The small, repetitive movements needed to keep rolling the ball will cause havoc for an arthritic thumb.

How about a Vertical Mouse?

Some suggest vertical mice for arthritic pain. I say NOPE! Remember our exercise above when we held our hand out like we were shaking someone's hand? That is the position a vertical mouse tried to copy. It places the hand in a more neutral, natural position.

More "natural position", that is, if you do not have arthritis. This type can actually increase the pain of arthritis because it places the hand in a grip position. The constant squeeze from this position will make actually make finger and thumb joints hurt worse.​

My Recommended Mice for Arthritis Suffers

To reduce the arthritis pain you feel when using computer mouse, look for the following:

  • Look for a mouse that eliminates having to grip or grasp the mouse tightly to move it
  • Buttons should be easy to push and not require lifting the finger off of the mouse to operate
  • If you want a mouse with a trackball for easy scrolling, choose one that doesn't require hooking or curling the finger to operate it.

Arthritis Friendly Mouse Reviews

Best Wired or Wireless Mouse for Arthritic Hands

Hippus HandShoe Mouse

The Handshoe Mouse from Hippus is a completely different take on the ergonomic mouse concept. Your hand literally rests right on the mouse with curved contours to fit your thumb and pinky finger.

There is no need to grasp or pinch the mouse to move it. To use a cliche, it fits like a glove. That is why this mouse comes in 3 sizes, right and left sided, as well as corded and wireless options.

Here's a nice video that walks you through how this mouse works:

What I Like

  • The whole hand rests on the mouse fully supporting the hand and all fingers especially the thumb.
  • ​Because of this, the hand stays relaxed keep joints from being stiff.
  • It glides with ease and simple movements.
  • Buttons press with ease and track wheel is located right under the finger tips.

What I Don't Like

  • Because the shoulders and elbows are used to move the mouse, it may not be the best choice for people with problems in those joints.

How to Choose the Right Size

Measure the distance from the bottom of the heel of your hand to the tip of your ring finger. 

Right hand sizes:

Left hand sizes:

how to size a handshoe mouse
Hippus Wireless Light Click HandShoe Mouse (Right Hand, Medium, Black)
  • The best wireless and ergonomic mouse on the market. The scinece and studies to back up the claims!...
  • wireless
  • right handed

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 04:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Best Joystick Mouse for Arthritis

3M Ergonomic Mouse

Note: This mouse has earned the Arthritis Foundation's Ease of Use Commendation

Admittedly, this mouse is very similar to the vertical ergonomic mice that I don't typically recommend for arthritis.  But this one makes up for some of the shortcomings.

Unlike other vertical mice, this one allows the hand to completely curve around the handle. This relieves the grip stress caused by the others. Also, the button is located at the tip of the joystick where the thumb has easy access to it. 

To use the mouse, hold the handle like a joystick. Then, slide the whole mouse around using large arm movements. This reduces the pain from finger movement.

Video review of the 3M Ergonomic Mouse:

What I Like

  • Uses a curved grip ergonomic handle that relaxes tight, painful arthritic joints.
  • Also keeps wrist in neutral position so it is helpful with arthritis in the wrist.
  • Right and left buttons are easily toggled with the thumb.
  • Finger pain is reduced because the joystick is moved with arm and shoulder movements.

What I Don't Like

  • Because the mouse uses arm and shoulder movements, it may not be a good choice for those with elbow or shoulder problems.

This is a right handed only product and comes in small and large sizes. No wireless version is available but comes with a 6.5 foot long cord.

3M Wired Ergonomic Optical Mouse, Patented Vertical Grip Design Keeps Your Hand and Wrist at a...
  • The 3M Ergonomic Mouse has earned an Ease-of-Use Commendation from the Arthritis Foundation® for...
  • Vertical grip design that keeps your hand and wrist at a neutral angle, while the mouse works as a...
  • Use your thumb to left and right click
  • Optical sensor, USB/PS2 plug and play compatibility and a 6.5 feet
  • 2 year warranty

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 04:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Alternative Computer Control Devices for Arthritic Hands

Sometimes a mouse just isn't the best choice for arthritis sufferers. It is sometimes impossible to position the hands in a way that keeps the joints from hurting. Other options are trackball devices and touch pads

Best Trackball Mouse for Arthritis

Kensington Expert Wireless Trackball Mouse

Trackballs are often easier for arthritic hands. They work by rolling a large ball in the direction the user wants the mouse to go. This can be done with the fingers or the palm of the hand. Using the palm to roll the ball is particularly helpful for those with arthritis.

Video showing how this trackball is used:

What I Like

  • Customization - free software allows programming of the ball and the buttons to make the trackball more functional for the user.
  • Large ball for easy control of the mouse
  • Spinning dial scrolls up and down webpages
  • The same model can be used with either the right or left hand.
  • Detachable wrist rest offers a comfortable padded area that levels the wrist.

What I Don't Like

  • Not really a dislike but there is a bit of a learning curve to using a trackball instead of a mouse.

If using a mouse is no longer feasible, consider this trackball. After the initial learning curve, it is easy - and less painful - to use. Because the buttons and speed of the ball are customized through software, this trackball mouse will benefit many arthritic computer users.

Kensington Expert Wireless Trackball Mouse (K72359WW)
  • Wireless connection via Bluetooth 4.0 LE or USB Nano receiver
  • Trackball Works software lets you customize all 4 buttons, adjust cursor speed
  • Diamond Eye optical tracking technology for premium cursor control and accuracy
  • Award-winning Scroll Ring lets you scan up and down pages with ease
  • Large ball is designed as a perfect sphere to provide exceptional precision

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 04:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Best Touchpad Mouse for Arthritic Hands

Adesso Easy Cat 2 Button Glidepoint Touchpad

Touchpads are another great alternative to computer mice. Especially for those with arthritis. If you are able to point a finger or even a knuckle, you can use a touch pad.

Touchpads are basically external versions of the mouse pads that are built into many laptops today. To move the cursor, the user simply slides their finger on the screen. To click buttons, tap the screen or the two buttons built onto this unit. You can even scroll up and down pages and other advanced movements.

Here is a great video showing the advanced controls this touch pad can do:

What I Like

  • Simple and easy to use. Just slide and tap your finger on the screen to control the cursor.
  • Includes 2 physical buttons for traditional right and left clicks.
  • Slim, lightweight and portable.
  • Uses many of the pinch and zoom gestures of tablets.

What I Don't Like

  • It does require some technical know know to get it set up. Someone who knows how to download and install driver software should be available.

It comes with a quick setup guide and USB cord. Drivers will need to be installed for it to work properly.

Adesso Easy Cat 2 Button Glidepoint Touchpad (Black)
  • Downloadable Drivers for Scrolling and Other Features
  • No Moving Parts to Clean or Breakdown
  • USB for PC and Mac Platforms
  • 2-Button Touchpad with Glidepoint Technology by Cirque
  • True Two-Button Mouse Performance

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 03:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Arthritis is painful and the more you use those swollen joints the more they hurt. Using the right tools and learning about home remedies like these will help. Thankfully, there are alternatives for standard computer mice for those with arthritis. I hope this information has helped you choose the best computer mouse for arthritic hands. If using a mouse with arthritis is just too painful, consider using a tablet instead. 

Have you had any experience using a mouse you would like to share? Do you know of another option I haven't considered? Leave a comment below!​

About the Author Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

I work daily with seniors and the elderly in my position as a wheelchair specialist at a home medical company. I see the struggle they have maintaining their independence and living their daily lives. Most are completely unaware of the options and products out there that can improve their independence, mobility, and safety in their home. I created this site to help seniors, elders, and their caregivers make smart buying decisions about the many independent living aids on the market.

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