Vertical Mice: Different grip, same static posture.

At this point we are all familiar with a vertical mouse, right? The design has been around since the early 90’s and over the years vertical style mice have seen their popularity rise, to the point where every online retailer is flooded with vertical mice of different styles, colors, and shapes. The concept is simple enough, take a traditional handheld mouse and design it in a way where you rotate your hand into a grip that is more of a “handshake” posture than flat on the desk. Then, *Poof* just like that all your ailments have suddenly gotten better. But is it really that simple? Let us investigate how vertical mice work, and if they really are the best long-term solution for mouse related RSIs.
vert mouse hand
All vertical style mice operate under the same basic principal when it comes to solving wrist and forearm pain. Rotate your hand to a more vertical position to eliminate over pronation of the wrist while also using a different muscle group in the forearm. While each mouse may make a case as to why its angle of posture rotation is better than the competitions, the fact remains that no matter what, the angle always stays the same, and that is a problem.
The definition of “static” is: lacking in movement, action, or change. Vertical mice are “static grip” mice that by definition lack the ability to vary or provide a dynamic posture. As you may be able to infer, this is not a good thing. It is true, the reason behind most mouse related RSIs is the posture a standard computer mouse puts you in. It is also true that changing your grip to a more vertical posture alleviates the immediate issues caused by traditional mice. That is a good thing, but we must wonder, isn’t going from one static posture to another just resetting the timer on the possibility of another RSI?
The one constant in our workdays is how much we rely on the computer, and our input devices, to complete tasks. The workload will not decrease. Continuing with that line of thought, is a static, vertical posture the answer to all mouse related RSIs? I am here to tell you it is a resounding “NO”. A vertical mouse may have fixed the immediate issue but offloading the same workload to a different set of muscles day in and day out leaves workers susceptible to various other mouse related RSIs. Forearms can be overworked as they are the driving force behind all the mouse movements. Not only that, thumbs are at risk too! The vertical mouse design inherently creates a pinch point between the thumb and forefinger which is especially noticeable when left clicking. This can overwork the CMC joint and cause fatigue and pain in the thumb.
vert mouse pain
vert mouse timeline unimouse-01
So how can you fix one problem without creating another? The answer is simple: variable posture. Think like a sit/stand desk for your hand! The Contour Design Unimouse is designed not only to help you find your preferred posture but encourages users to vary their posture throughout the day. This concept allows users to switch the angle and thumb rest position for the mouse on the fly, allowing for a relaxed hand while continually using different muscle groups to “drive” the mouse. So would you rather be stuck in the same posture day in and day out, or would you prefer to have a mouse that gives you hundreds of posture options that ensure you don’t feel fatigue or pain ever again? The choice is yours.