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Suggestions for an Ergonomic Mouse?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the keyboards-aren't-the-only-wrist-enemies-out-there dept.

GUI 127

pawul13 asks: "I've seen lots of articles and suggestions on ergonomic keyboards (and I have the excellent kinesis version, which helps tremendously), but what about mice? I'm currently experiencing a lot of pain, but only in my 'mouse' wrist. I have a semi-ergo Logitech, but it's not doing it. Does anyone have suggestions for the best ergo mouse (Trackball, optical, whatever, it doesn't matter)?" There was a similar question from January, but it may have been too limited.

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Right and left handed both (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8793448)

The best mouse is symmetrical, and works left-handed and right-handed both. It either has no scroll-wheel, or has a very low wheel so it isn't bumped all the time when reaching the index finger to the left mouse button (I'm tired of having to gouge out the scroll wheel because it is always getting in the way of simple mouse clicks)

Re:Right and left handed both (2, Informative)

Anonymous Cow herd (2036) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793607)

Here's a crazy idea. Instead of using your index finger to operate both mouse buttons (which is what I gathered from your post) and risk bumping into the mouse wheel, use your index finger for the right mouse button (you're a lefty as well, I take it?) and your middle finger for the left. Then you don't risk bumping into the scroll wheel, since you're not moving your index finger around. Works wonders.

Re:Right and left handed both (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794229)

I'm right handed, and my index and middle fingers won't cross that way!

Re:Right and left handed both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8794608)

turn your hand upside down.

Re:Right and left handed both (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 10 years ago | (#8795016)

I'm left handed and have always used my mouse on the right because it's too much of a pain to swap it around everywhere I go (and change the mouse buttons). Oddly enough the only person I know who uses a left hand style mouse is right handed (she likes to be able to use both mouse and numberpad.

Re:Right and left handed both (2, Informative)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | more than 10 years ago | (#8798155)

First finger on left button
Second finger on middle/wheel
Third finger on right button

Takes time to get used to if you're used to 2-button mice, but this is simply the most natural way to hold it. This way you get access to all 3 buttons without moving any of the fingers at all! (except for up-down motion)

Well... (4, Interesting)

hookedup (630460) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793453)

One of the ladies here at work complained about her wrist being sore from being at a PC for 8 hours a day. We gave her a trackball, and I have not seen her extension # show up on my phone since.

Give it a shot.

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

hookedup (630460) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793485)

Failing that, and you want to look uber at the same time?

May i introduce to you, the Ergonomic Vertical Mouse []

Comes in USB too!

3M (4, Informative)

Tozog (599414) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793711)

This is actually made by 3M. Its called the 3M(TM) Ergonomic Mouse, you can find it at many retailers. []

Comes in two size, small/medium and large.

I used one for a summer when I was an intern at SGI. It really reduces wrist pain, but its a bit "slower" and takes about 2 weeks to get used to it. Seems less precise than a regular mouse too.

A Froogle finds average price about $50. nG=Search+Froogle []


Re:Well... (1)

Yottabyte84 (217942) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794664)

Yeah, you can't chord left and right clicks.

Re:Well... (3, Funny)

isorox (205688) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793736)

Perhaps her wrist died completely and she can't pick up the phone?

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

ballwall (629887) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794061)

I started using one of these [] years ago. It's not one that you have to somehow convince your index finger to move from side to side, and they recently increased the arch to better fit your hand at rest. Highly recommended.

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794339)

Or if you're like me and your thumb is completely inaccurate as a pointing device (but have no problems moving your index finger side-to-side), there's this [] or this [] . The latter is the one I currently use, and the former is the one I'm currently looking at, since MS hasn't released a wireless version of their trackball yet.

My recommendation is to go down to BestBuy or some other large store and check out a couple of them to see how they feel. I have pretty bad problems with carpal tunnel when I use a standard keyboard and any mouse, but with a good trackball that's the right size for my hand and the right posture I can usually use a computer as long as I need to without a problem.

I'd also add that optical trackballs do need occasional cleaning (pull the ball out and make sure there's nothing in the sensors), but that the cleaning is significantly easier to do without damagining the trackball than the pre-optical trackballs and mice.

Re:Well... (1)

Anml4ixoye (264762) | more than 10 years ago | (#8796105)

I will second the Trackball Explorer. It takes some getting used to, but there is no way I would ever use a thumb trackball again. Still pretty expensive to buy in the stores (~40 USD) but you can pick one up on Ebay for a good price if you catch it right.

Also, I don't use the same thing for work and home. I use the Trackball and work and a regular USB optical mouse at home just to give everything a break.

Re:Well... (1)

drudd (43032) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799078)

Well I've used both thumb trackballs and index finger trackballs, and my index finger just ends up being bent in weird ways. The thumb motion seems much more natural to me (personal preference of course).


Trackman FX (1)

jovlinger (55075) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799264)

'nuff said. I love this trackball. Precise, wireless, runs for weeks on a battery (I have rechargables, change maybe every 6 weeks) and extremely comfortable.

Only downside is a lack of a scroll wheel, but I use the keyboard / arrow keys for most things like that.

Re:Well... (1)

Admiral Burrito (11807) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799548)

I have the Microsoft trackball that you linked to. It's well-designed, but poorly built. The ball, buttons and wheel are well-positioned, but there are lots of details that were done wrong. The sensor is in a little nook that is left open, making it a very effective dirt trap. At least once a day the thing stops working and I have to pop the ball out and clean that little nook. Usually it's just one barely-visible little fiber from clothing or carpet or something. The last trackball I had (logitech two-button) had a little cover over the nook where the sensor is, to avoid that. Also, the buttons have a lot of play to them (by design as far as I can tell; cheap construction), and one of the extra LEDs in the unit (which is not actually needed, it's just there for show) sometimes shines through the space between the buttons and the wheel, right into my eye. These are both minor annoyances, but very regular ones, and could've been avoided if they had built the thing properly.

If Logitech would build a trackball with a similar design I would buy it in a second.

BTW, why do you want wireless? I can understand a wireless mouse, because you move the unit around in normal operation, but a trackball sits stationary so the cord isn't really an issue...?

Re:Well... (2, Interesting)

Satan Dumpling (656239) | more than 10 years ago | (#8797117)

Yes, I like the Trackman Wheel. I have been using one of those at home for quite a while, and I like it. Wanted a trackball for trackball Mame games actually. Just bought one for work too bacause I got tired of switching back and forth. had the best price. Doesn't take that long to get used to, but it really annoys anyone who wants to borrow my computer for a FPS...

Re:Well... (1)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794999)

Worked for me, too. Switching from a mouse to a trackball eliminated the pain in my wrist.

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

mschaef (31494) | more than 10 years ago | (#8795987)

I'd try a couple things. Given that you have a Kinesis keyboard, if you have the Ergo (split, dished) keyboard, you can try putting one of the smaller Cirque touchpads between the two halves of the keyboard. That elimininates reaching over to the side to use the mouse (very important, see below), and also lets you use a different set of muscles to do your pointing.

Another option is to try a trackball. I have a microsoft Trackball explorer optical (think I got the name right), and that did my index fingers absolute wonders, since the trackball lets you click with the thumb (much stronger, etc.) The one problem with this is that you still end up reaching over to the side to use the pointing device. Hold that position too long, and you can end up with an overall postural imbalance since tendons and muscles get exercised unevenly on the two sides of your body. Therefore, I'd also reccomend periodically switching the side of the keyboard the trackball is on. The best trackball with which to do this are some of the Kensington models that are symmetrical about their axis, although Microsoft's trackball supposedly allows you to assign left and right click actions to buttons on the right side of their trackballs.

Other than that, be sure to take breaks often, probably more often than feels natural. If you're like me, it's way, way too easy to postpone or forget about the breaks you need to take to stay healthy. A wonderful tool, workrave [] is a free, open source, tool that enforces breaks and pauses on Windows and Linux machines. Use it, live by it, and it will help too.

I'd also reccomend that you get in shape. Exercise and stretching can also help a great deal, and your primary form of exercise should not be holding yourself off to the side to manipulate the mouse.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799084)

try - it will automatically click your mouse - so you wont need a fancy mouse - i.e. clicking is what hurts you - not moving the mouse aroud.

Re:Well... (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799428)

I bought a used trackball about 9 years ago and tried it. Next I bought another trackball for a second computer. Now we all have logitech marble mouse (trackball) and even the high-end dual-laser mice on our engineering workstations at work dont measure up in comfort.

Think about it. You move two fingers instead of the whole arm (or 5 fingers for smaller mice, try moving less than that), and its actually more precise and faster. Counterstrike can be played faster with it for example... the momemtum of a mouse plus your arm is more than the rotational momentum of the ball and two fingers.

Most people freak out and ask for a mouse. Ive seen that it takes about 30 days for someone to get used to it, Ive seen about 10 people switch to it and have yet to see one switch back. I use a mouse at work every day (one of the higher end logitech with two laser readers underneath), but come back home to the marble mouse.

Enough said?

One of those glove thingies from Minority Report (1)

skermit (451840) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793466)

How far are we from that actually that it's no longer an instrument that we're using, but actions we perform withour own bodies which is interpreted by the machine?

Re:One of those glove thingies from Minority Repor (2, Interesting)

JasonMaggini (190142) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793570)

I dunno, those kinds of interface devices always look like they would cause a bad case of gorilla arm [] .

Re:One of those glove thingies from Minority Repor (2, Informative)

justDucky (754815) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794258)

How about something from It looks like a glorified touch pad, but i've been tempted to buy one to give me more one hand capabilities.

Re:One of those glove thingies from Minority Repor (1)

Reducer2001 (197985) | more than 10 years ago | (#8796315)

i've been tempted to buy one to give me more one hand capabilities.Insert masturbation joke here.

Trackball and Mouse - change often (2, Interesting)

clausiam (609879) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793478)

I had these problems once. I got one of the big trackballs that's operated with the palm and thumb. It did help my wrist but after a while I started getting should pains (from moving my arm instead of my wrist). So I switched back to the mouse again for a while and so forth. Thing is that any repetitive motion is bad so by varying the device you can give each "pain-point" some rest now and then.

Still waiting for the thought-controlled input device, but then I guess that will just give you a headache instead :-)


Handedness, too (1)

nosferatu-man (13652) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794686)

This is very true: I use one of the Apple "soapbar" mice, and a Kensington Expert Mouse Pro trackball, and I switch mice and handedness every couple of weeks. It's helped a great deal. I found that it's not that hard to develop the ability to use your mouse with either hand.


Have you considered a writing tablet? (4, Informative)

kenthorvath (225950) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793486)

Wacom [] has a wonderful selection of writing tablets for various uses (web designer, artist, general use, etc...) and I have found it to be quit relaxing and natural to use, especially if you grew up using pencil and paper to do things. According to their website, it helps reduce Repetitive Stress Injury, and they have several testimonials to that effect.

Re:Have you considered a writing tablet? (1)

abh (22332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8797925)

Agreed... mod parent up as Informative. I sold them at retail several years ago and wondered why anyone would spend the money. Then I worked for them. Despite having left under less-than-ideal circumstances with my supervisor, their product is awesome (I have one at my new job and at home).

Daily Planet (5, Interesting)

dJCL (183345) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793512)

Actually, there was a short segment on Daily Planet the other day that mentioned mouse hand pains. They stated that researchers had determined that just moving your mouse to the other side of the keyboard and using your other hand was enough to make a lot of the pains go away and never come back!

Basic idea: you reach past your number keys to get to the mouse, so moving to the other side reduces hand travel to get there. And anyone can adapt to the mouse on the other side, even without changing buttons... Try it, and you may not have to spend money to solve your problems.


Re:Daily Planet (1)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793569)

I'll second this. For a while, I had to use a Mac "hockey puck" mouse in addition to my normal workstation. Ow ow ow!!

I switched to using the puck lefty, normal desktop righty, no more pain. Hopefully that doesn't screw up my neural pathways too much. :)

Re:Daily Planet (1)

Lish (95509) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793601)

This is EXACTLY what worked for me, on advice from the on-site nurse at my last employer. If your mouse is on the left you don't have to reach as far out to use it. Also, it more evenly divides your hand-intensive work between your left and right hands (assuming you're a righty, you will be writing with your right hand and mousing with the left).

The other thing that helped was getting a keyboard tray that I could adjust to the right height. I'm short and using a keyboard on a desk means my hands are up as high as my armpits, which is about as un-ergonomic as you can get!

Re:Daily Planet (2, Informative)

gorgano (155625) | more than 10 years ago | (#8795406)

I was going to say the same thing.. but sence it's already been pointed out, i'll just confirm that this does work. I used to have extream pain him my writs (right). I couldn't take it anymore and desided to try and switch it over to the left. It take a few weaks to get used to, but sence i've switched over i've had very little pain that that wrist. When i do, i just switch back to the right side for a while.

Plus, it gives you the added benfit of being able to laugh at anyone that trys to use your computer... hours of entertainment. :)


mouse with the other hand (1)

ceej (185138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799580)

I'd like to second (or third, or fourth) this. I switched to mousing left-handed more than 10 years ago after a bout of tendonitis in my right wrist. I haven't had a recurrence. It took a few weeks to get comfortable, and the first couple of days were awkward. Persistence paid off, though. Now I can mouse either-handed. I didn't bother to change button locations.

I like the speed of selecting a region of text with my left hand while doing a command-key combo with my right.

Is a mouse really needed? (3, Interesting)

menscher (597856) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793663)

Just try to use the keyboard more. Don't copy/paste with a mouse, use y and p (in vi, of course).

Also, I agree with another poster that a large part of the problem is because of that silly numeric keypad wasting 6" of space past the right side of my keyboard. Might be worth finding a keyboard without that (course, they're really useful when typing numbers, but that's another matter).

I also suspect that a lot of extra effort is put into pressing , since it's so far away. I've actually adapted into pressing ^H by habit. But that doesn't always work: brings up browser history, etc. Also, if you accidentally type rm -rf / and mean to hit ^H but miss and hit ^J....

Re:Is a mouse really needed? (1)

menscher (597856) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793847)

I also suspect that a lot of extra effort is put into pressing <Backspace>.

Sorry, forgot I was writing in HTML.

Re:Is a mouse really needed? (1)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | more than 10 years ago | (#8798093)

Using the keyboard is nice and fast and all... but you can't play Quake (or any FPS) without the mouse.

A good trackball (1)

Mycroft_514 (701676) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793683)

The ones made by chproducts were the best. Unfortunately they were the msot expensive, so ch products got out of that business. I still have one on an older machine and it is still working after about 10 years of use.

I really got into these when I was helping a parapelegic work out how to use his computer. He had pencils that were strapped to his hands to work with. A mouse was horrible for him to use, but a simple change to one of these trackballs worked great.

If you see any of these on e-bay with the PS/2 plug on it, let me know, I could use 2 more!

Re:A good trackball (2, Informative)

elmegil (12001) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793811)

My favorite has been this one [] (Logitech Trackman Marble FX) for a long time now. Unfortunately, Logitech no longer manufactures them, so good luck finding it. But it has an oversize ball, so you get greater precision and less strain, and the positioning of the ball is such that you can use all your fingers (except maybe the pinkie) on the ball, so you don't have one finger getting all the traffic. It's a little weird to get used to at first, because you have to use your thumb rather than index finger to double/middle click and your ring finger to right click, but it becomes natural enough over time. Any kind of trackball is going to be easier on your wrist than a mouse though....

Contour Designs Mouse (2, Informative)

stuckatwork (622157) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793731)

Many of my co-workers use these mice from Contour Designs.

You can check them out here []

I know just the thing! (1)

HoneyBunchesOfGoats (619017) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793732)

The best, most comfortable mouse I have ever owned was a Logitech Mouseman Wheel. It's secret is twofold: first, it slopes very much downward to the right, following the natural shape of your hand. Second, it's very long. Check some pictures here [] and here [] , and a review here [] . I unfortunately had to give up my original wired ball model, since I need cordless capability. Logitech made a wired ball version, a wireless ball version, and a wired optical version... but never followed it up with a wireless optical version, opting instead for more "stylish" mice which are much shittier. (They did technically make a wireless optical version, but in trackball form: if you look at this [] , it has the great ergonomic shape, but with a trackball grafted to the side.)

I look on eBay all the time to try to pick one up, but always end up getting outbid... these mice are highly desirable. I suppose one day I'll save up and just bid $100 for the cordless one, they are that good.

Re:I know just the thing! (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794884)

I have the wireless (with ball) version of this mouse and absolutely love it. One other thing that you didn't mention is that the thumb button on this mouse is perfectly under the thumb when the hand is at rest on the mouse, unlike my Microsoft 5 button mouse (which requires that I bring my thumb up an inch above where it is when the hand is relaxing at rest on the mouse.) It seems like a little thing, and it probably is - but add up a bunch of little things and that is what makes a really nice mouse.

I'll second that (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8795219)

Mouseman Wheel (the one farthest to the right) was the best mouse I have ever owned. The latter versions (the other two depicted) were not (in my opinion) angled enough. They were only sufficiently angled so that you'd be annoyed that they weren't as good as the original. Luckily, I worked in a computer store at the time, so I didn't have to buy stuff to check it out at home for a few weeks.
I would also recommend getting that mouse, I still curse the day I sold mine (I got rid of all my equipment a few years back, being tired of computers (after having worked 45hr weeks for 3yrs in a computer store))

Re:I know just the thing! (1)

einTier (33752) | more than 10 years ago | (#8795285)

I have the iFeel version of this optical mouse. Though I've turned off the iFeel feedback (interesting, but really, just a novelty), I find I greatly prefer it to the Razor Boomslang sitting right next to it.

It did take some getting used to though, because it doesn't feel like any other mouse out there.

Re:I know just the thing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799154)

The IBM scrollpoint is very similar in shape to the no-longer-made logitech, and is still in production. It might be worth a look - assuming you like the trackpoint instead of a wheel, of course, or at least don't mind it horribly.

Logitech Trackman Marble (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793747)

The latest Evolution on the venerable design. This is the one with the buttons under the fingers and the ball under the thumb. I have never had issues with pain when using this mouse. I have been using the trackman series since my first PC capable of using/needing a mouse. Avoid the ones where the ball sits in the fron under the index/middle finger. That one will quickly cause problems in the wrist and lower arm, esspecially if you are already sensitive. They only complaint if I had to make one is I wish that the mouse was a tiny bit larger on the whole. The prevous iteration I still have on the home PC (one of the variations on the older conch-shell design) was a bit larger therefore more comfortable for me. However the current design is still mre comfortable than any mouse that requires moving the unit itself.

Re:Logitech Trackman Marble (1)

Atrahasis (556602) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793858)

I have one the Trackmans with the ball under the fingers, and use it maybe 8 hours a day and have never had any trouble with RSI or other discomfort. Then again I've never had any trouble with any other mouse either, so maybe I'm just resilient ;)

Re:Logitech Trackman Marble (1)

KerryAnderson (120292) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793867)

I'll second this, I've been using the original Logitech Trackman Marble for many years both at home and at work. I've never found anything more comforatable and for those of us with cramped or cluttered workspaces, no need for space for a mouse pad.

I tried one of the newer ones (with the wheel in place of the center button) and did not find it nearly as comfortable. Gave it to my 6yr old daughter and she seems happy with it. Certainly likes it better than the mouse she had before.

Re:Logitech Trackman Marble (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 10 years ago | (#8796034)

Yep, thats exactly the problem I have with it...I have the lastest one on my desk here (its all you can get now), and I have found it not quite as comfortable as the old one...(Plus honestly I miss my third button)...I'm not sure why they decided to drop the true third button from this model...I liked it..

Re:Logitech Trackman Marble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8796735)

I actually prefer the model with the trackball front & center (Marble Mouse [] ). It works as well in the right or left hand. I keep mine on the left so the keyboard is well centered, with the trackball opposite the numberpad.

As someone who relatively recently was forced to change handedness, it's really annoying that there are so many right-handed only mice on the market, and so few good universal or left-handed ones. Due to the nature of my injuries, I am REALLY sensitive to anything that might cause wrist problems. The Marble Mouse has no such problem for me.

Re:Logitech Trackman Marble (1)

Gnascher (645346) | more than 10 years ago | (#8797886)

I second this. I used the Trackman Marble (with wheel) for years, but am a recent convert to the marble mouse.

The reason I switched was because I found that after long periods of use with the thumb-ball on the Trackman Marble I'd get terrible pain in my thumb joint.

The Marble Mouse is completeley ambidexterous, and spreads the 'mousing' task across the three fingers between your thumb and pinky.

Left and right clicks are accomplished with the thumb and pinky respectively. AND .... the scroll functionality that was provided by the weel on my old trackman is now provided by two little buttons also operated by my thumb and pinky.

In conclusion ... any of you who also suffer from thumb pain with the Trackman Marble, but want to stay in the 'alterna-mouse' genra ... I highly recommend you give the Marble Mouse [] a test drive.

ergo is bad for your wrist (4, Interesting)

Basje (26968) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793765)

an ergonomic mouse forces your hand to always have the exact same position. Hence, the movements will always be the same and repetitive.

You'd be best off with the old amiga mouses or something: square. You'd end up shifting your hand from time to time since it's uncomfortable, in the long run it's more comforatble.

Re:ergo is bad for your wrist (2, Interesting)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 10 years ago | (#8796023)

You'd end up shifting your hand from time to time since it's uncomfortable, in the long run it's more comforatble.

*bzzzzt* Wrong! That discomfort is a warning that you're doing damage to your body. By the time you get around to doing something about the pain, the damage is done.

Re:ergo is bad for your wrist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8796952)

No, that discomfort is the edge of the mouse pressing into your hand. As opposed to the uncomfort that arises from being in the same position too long. That last one is internal and damaging. The first is external.

Try a gel wrist pad (1)

auferstehung (150494) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793837)

like one of these [] . I use one and love it. Have one for the keyboard too.

You want a full-size trackball (1)

shoppa (464619) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793883)

What you probably want is a full-size trackball.

These are not necessarily easy to find at consumer electronics stores. What they carry are el-cheapo trackballs, which may have the word "ergonomic" on them and some funky curved design, but they're awful to use.

The ones we have are made by Mouse-Trak [] and look as ugly as hell, cost $150 each, but are a joy to use. They are used 24x7 and are in place on 8-CRT consoles, so they get heavily used and abused, and we send a few dozen back in each year to get repaired. Usually the problem is that the track-ball itself (which weighs probably 10 times what you'd find in a el-cheapo trackball, think back to the old "Missile Command" and "Centipede" games) has worn down, or the shafts it rides on.

Kensington Optical (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8795976)

Kensington has recently upgraded it's full-sized trackball line with wireless optical [] and regular optical [] lines. I would strongly recommend an optical ball over a mechanical one. While I've had Expert Mice for the past 12 years (2 of them, both still working), making them optical fixes any problems with dirty balls not scrolling correctly. They're all terribly comfortable, and use a ball exactly the same size and shape as a billiard ball.

IBM Trackpoint Keyboard (1)

MaxQuordlepleen (236397) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793893)

I too had a lot of wrist pain due to mousing, until I got a Thinkpad and started to use the trackpoint. These keyboards are also available for desktop machines. What I wonder is, will it work with a Mac?

Re:IBM Trackpoint Keyboard (1)

mrsev (664367) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794112)

I personaly think that a touchpad is the best option for pain as you are only moving your finger. This really reduces any discomfort. May I reccommend using the middle finger for movement and the index finger for clicking. In this way you rest your palm on the edge and index finger on the button. With this setup there is almost no movement. Tip 2 relax your hand... many people really GRIP their mouse... there is no need! Tip3 take your screen breaks... not just your hands suffer but also your eyes.

Re:IBM Trackpoint Keyboard (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794274)

I agree. Have one here at work and 2 at home, with mice plugged in as well.

What really cheeses me off lately is that I'd like to buy a laptop. I've got an IBM Thinkpad that I love, but it's getting long in the tooth. IBM and Dell are the only 2 that I've found so far that still have a trackpoint in their laptops.... IBM's too pricey, and I'm using a Dell laptop here at work and while it's nice, I don't like it that much...

How you use it (4, Informative)

DaRat (678130) | more than 10 years ago | (#8793983)

Having a mouse that is comfortable for you is important (and highly dependent on personal preference), but how you use it is even more important. Many people end up gripping the mouse tightly, angling their hand up, and using the wrist for side to side motion too much. A light touch, letting the mouse go when not using it, and using your entire arm will help quite a bit. Also, just taking short breaks every 30 minutes to an hour will really help.

ergo mice (1)

kendoka (473386) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794013)

I've read a few things on the net which state that reducing palm down position reduces pain. Apparently, the natural position for your hand and wrist is palm inwards. Here is one of the palm in style ergo mice I found:

Are you sure it's the mouse? (1)

MBoffin (259181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794014)

Try adjusting your sitting position, chair height, equipment placement, etc. It may not be the mouse that's causing the problem. A good mouse can still give you pain if your body is positioned wrong.

Always been a fan of trackballs (0, Offtopic)

MImeKillEr (445828) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794027)

And when my Logitec died, I switched to a Microsoft [] Optical Trackball. The PS2 version is something like $35 at Wally World.

Despite the fact that I have bad thumbs (several sprains while skateboarding in my youth), using a trackball has never caused fatigue.

Plus, I find the trackball better for gaming (UT2K4, etc).

Re:Always been a fan of trackballs (2, Informative)

MImeKillEr (445828) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794063)

Oops. Link is wrong -- Sorry 'bout that. Was replying to a myth with an article from snopes.

The actual link to the optical trakcball is here [] .

When it was me... (1)

billmaly (212308) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794170)

I looked at the ergo characteristics for that side of the desk. I raised my armrest to support my arm, not just my elbow, and also added a gel wrist support for directly under my wrist. Now, my mousing arm is mostly supported from elbow to wrist, and it has helped a lot.

For the mouse itself, I've had real good luck w. MS Optical mice, work mouse is Intellimouse Explorer 3.0, home mouse is 4.0 (side scroll wheel, very nice). Say what you will about MS software, they make/license a real nice mouse and keyboard. In fact, the MS Natural KBD I use at home was purchased the same day Windows 95 was purchased, back in '95!!!

a mouse pad with a wrist rest (1)

Calaf (78730) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794431)

Some time after I started my career working full time at the computer, I also developed pain in my wrist of my mousing hand. For a long time I couldn't figure out why--I suppose I was in denial that something so seemingly innocuous as using a mouse could injure me. Finally, acting on a hunch, I started using a mouse pad that had a gel pad to rest my wrist on, and I immediately felt more comfortable. The pain went away and that wrist has not bothered me ever since.

P.S. I have been using just ordinary Microsoft/Logitech mice.

Try silly putty (1)

chrisatslashdot (221127) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794476)

I have long hands and a typical mouse does not fit me at all. Silly putty [] is great for modifing the shape of my mouse to better fit my hand. So order up a convenient 5 pound blob [] and experience ergonomic nirvana.

Get a symetric mouse of any kind. (1)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794609)

That is right, use your other hand, what better way to relief the stress in one hand that distributing it amongst the two of them?

One day you use the right hand, the other you use the left (make sure you change your mouse driver to the correct hand, that way your brain learns faster to use the mouse with the hand you are less comfortable with, i.e. dont use always the same mouse configuration, that will confuse you).

As other have commented, also change the device you use. One week use a mouse, another us a pen tablet, yet another use a trackball.

In my machine at home I actually have 2 devices connected, a mouse and a tablet...

Above all experiment. There is no best device, there is a device that works for you, any recommendation in principle is rubish because people do not know your circumstances and has no way to evaluate how comfortable something is for you.

FingerWorks iGesture no-button touchpad (3, Informative)

David Jao (2759) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794760)

I know this recommendation sounds silly to many people here who hate touchpads to death, but let me finish this post before you pass judgment.

The FingerWorks iGesture [] touchpad is a zero force, no button, standard USB interface mouse that has none of the annoying features of standard touchpads and is just as efficient as a standard mouse with none of the strain.

It uses different finger combinations to trigger different mouse functions such as left click, right click, drag, scroll wheel, and so on. It can sense which fingers you are using, and most importantly, it doesn't trigger mouse motion when you accidentally brush your hand against it because it can tell the difference between your fingers and your hand.

The iGesture pad is good enough to recommend even to people without wrist pain. But for anyone who actually is suffering physical strain from mouse use, it's almost a no-brainer.

(I have no relationship to FingerWorks except as a user of their products.)

three little letters... (1)

avi33 (116048) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794767)


What is it with this... (2, Insightful)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794771)

Every now and then we see stories about ergonomic this, rsi that, carpal tunnel, etc. I have no doubt that people are experiencing pain, and that they are experiencing it while using a keyboard or mouse.

However, I wonder if there isn't something more with CT/RSI. Why, for instance, do some people suffer from it, while others don't? For instance, I have never had (and here's hoping I don't ever have, from what I have read of the pain, it is HORRIBLE) any form of wrist or hand pain on a recurring, repeatable basis.

I have been using computers for almost 20 years now. If anything, I should be a case for "computer ailments". My first computer was a TRS-80 Color Computer 2 when I was 10 years old. I had it hooked up to a 19 inch color TV in my bedroom that I sat right in front of ("don't sit too close or you'll go blind" - I guess my parents didn't believe that applied with a computer - I used that TV as a *monitor*. MMM...32x16 black on green - ok, I'll admit, I am pretty nearsighted). From that time on I have pretty much sat in front of a computer of one sort or another coding.

Twenty plus years later here I am typing some more, and I haven't had any carpal flareups or anything like I have heard described. I have had minor pain in one wrist, that went away when I stopped - so I would stop, but that hasn't happened to me in months, if not over a year. It wasn't anything like the pain I hear described by sufferers of CT/RSI - so I think I just was tired, so I rested - seemed simple (or, maybe I did, and I did the right thing to stop?).

I have a wristrest in front of my keyboard at work, and at home I use a Model M (yay, clicky!)...

Is it me, am I lucky? Could it be a genetic predisposition for some folks? Are they doing something or working in a manner different from me that causes it? I will admit that I don't have a normal typing style, it is kinda "homegrown" over the years - is this the reason? Do people with CT/RSI who use keyboards tend to be those who practice real typing skills? Could these skills, being applied to a type of keyboard (that is, soft electronic, not mechanical) not in existence when the style of teaching was thought up (ie, back when typewriters were first being made), be the problem?

Re:What is it with this... (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#8795133)

You are lucky. Though I find the Model M helps a lot myself, so your luck is both that your genetics are right, and you have found good equipment. I have both carpal tunnel, and a more generic wrist pain. Carpal tunnel isn't a problem I get from computer (though others do), but rather physical labor. (Good equipment helps there too, my $100 hammer really makes the pain go away!) From the computer I get wrist pain, which I have traced to using the mouse for long periods. I've learned to switch hands, which helps a lot. Of course vi/emacs (I use both...) also prevents a lot of need for the mouse.

Re:What is it with this... (1)

silicon not in the v (669585) | more than 10 years ago | (#8795591)

Keyboard position can be a huge factor here. You know those little stands under the far side of the kayboard that you can flip out to lean your keyboard toward you? Those things are from the devil. Having your keyboard tilted up toward you is one of the most uncomfortable, stressful things you can do to your wrists. If you have an adjustable keyboard tray, tilt the back of it downward, so it slopes away from you. That lets your wrists hang downward in a more normal position. Tilted farther is usually better, as long as you can keep your mouse from sliding off.

If you don't have one of those trays, it's not too bad to just have the keyboard flat instead of tilted up.

Re:What is it with this... (1)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 10 years ago | (#8798860)

Hmm - on my Model M at home, I actually have the tabs down, so that it is "flat" - I like it better that way. As I noted in my original posting, I don't have a wrist rest there...

At work, I use an AST keyboard (probably the "next best" keyboard I have used and liked because of it's "feel"), but with the tabs up, and a wrist rest - I find that if I put the tabs down, it feels "wrong"...

Hmm - maybe I will try with the tabs up again, and see if things are really as bad as I think...

Consider the keyboard. (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8794865)

Even though the basic problem seems to be with the mouse, the keyboard can be part of the problem. These bloated 102-key monsters force right-handed people to move their wrists at an awkward angle to get at the mouse. A good narrow keyboard helps there.

My keyboard of choice is the Goldtouch [] . I actually didn't switch to it for its ergonomic features, though these are very good. But my problem wasn't RSI, it was a tendency to hit the wrong cursor key. I saw a Goldtouch and was impressed by the unusual (but very logical) layout. However, Goldtouch didn't design the layout to make the keyboard klutz-proof -- they did it to move the mouse closer to the center of the keyboard.

Vertical Mouse (2, Informative)

gujju (626201) | more than 10 years ago | (#8795045)

The other day I saw someone using a similar product to this Vertical Mouse [] . I tried it out and it seemed pretty convenient.. Maybe it can solve your problem


Thumbwheel (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 10 years ago | (#8795157)

I have a Logitech Trackman Wheel thumbwheel mouse. I had extensive reconstruction of my right arm, and have no wrist at all (having been replaced with a metal rod). I can use a regular mouse but it's difficult and slow. This thumbwheel solves the problem. In fact, after having used it only a couple weeks, I managed to win Windows Solitaire in less than 100 seconds, my previous best time with a regular never having broke 120 seconds, even before the wrist replacement.

I consider the fact that it's difficult to use for someone who's never tried one before, to be a plus. It keeps people from trying to use my machine.

Injury Patterns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8796911)

Road Bike vs Automobile, head on, by any chance?

You are unique! (4, Informative)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#8795270)

There are more than 100 different medical problems that the lower arm/wrist/hands can have. What will solve one problem may make a different one worse. You have to find what works for you. The ideas that others have poster may help. If your case is bad enough a good doctor might be able to help too.

Some things that might help (in addition to what others have said): learn piano. Seriously, a good piano teacher will sit over you with a ruler and give you a good whack every time your poster gets off, take these habits to the computer and you better off. Note too that musicans have been facing problems like this for years (hundreds if not thousands), so if after getting the advice of your piano teacher it doesn't go away, you they can often recommend doctors who know more about this type of problem than the average doctor.

Get a big trackball and place it on the floor. Rig up some foot pedals (at least for the left button...), and train your feet to do the work. You will still need a mouse for precision work, but this can take a lot of load off your hands.

Stretch. Search the web and you will come up with a bunch of hand stretches. I find they help me, they might help you.

Get in shape. Exercise can help in surprising ways, so if you are not in shape do it.

Take a vacation. When my wrist problems got the worst, nothing was helping. After a week in the backcountry in a canoe I came back with no pain. All those tricks I was doing before prevented the problems from coming back. I needed time to heal though before they would work.

Remember, nobody here is a medical doctor. Seek professional help if you need it. If things are getting worse stop.

Re:You are unique! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8796999)

...a good piano teacher will sit over you with a ruler and give you a good whack every time your poster gets off...

Sorry, but that's the funniest thing I've read today...

Re:You are unique! (2, Informative)

datababe72 (244918) | more than 10 years ago | (#8797930)

Please listen to this advice to go to a doctor! bluGill is absolutely right that there are many different things that might be causing your mouse arm pain. I have an injury to the muscle in my forearm that constricts the nerve that runs from my hand up my arm. This is very different from a carpal tunnel inflammation. This difference is important because the stretches that help this condition are completely different from the stretches that help carpal tunnel.

I caused my injury doing mouse-intensive work on a poorly configured workstation (configured for a 6'5" man, not a 5'6" woman). I ignored it and then tried to fix it myself for too long. By the time I went to a doctor, the injury was permanent. It has flared up twice since then, and I know it can flare up again if I am not careful. Don't let this happen to you... flare ups occur exactly when you can't take a long vacation, because the overuse/stress caused by working on a deadline is a prime risk factor for a flare up.

So go to a doctor, find out what's wrong, and take the appropriate steps now.

BTW, I now use a trackball exclusively, and this minimizes my problems. However, this alone doesn't prevent flare ups. The last one occurred even though I was using a trackball.

In my opinion, once you have a flare up, the only thing that allows it to subside is a nice long break from using the computer. Physical therapy can help, but rest is better. Workstation/mouse changes at this point won't help.

What worked better for me [Re: You are unique!] (1)

foobarb (659413) | more than 10 years ago | (#8798850)

1. I tilted the keyboard away, not toward me. I pushed that wrist rest under the closest edge of the kb so now it's maybe 5 degrees of tilt toward the monitor. this flattens the wrist like piano playing would and keeps me from anchoring the heel of my hand to the wrist rest anymore (which led to more twisting from the wrist). (I got this tilt tip from an RSI USENet post.) Pain in wrists and elbows got better in a matter of days. VHS tapes, paperback books, and my current 2-inch empty ring binder all work pretty well for this purpose.

2. Bought 2 Perfit [] mice, one for each hand. Every 3-6 months i switch mouse hands. This helped wrists and top of shoulders. The deal here is tilt and getting the right size for your hand so you can't so easily plant the heel of your hand on the mousepad. It takes some getting used to, but you can program the 3 buttons to do whatever you like, and I like them so well i've bought 4 of them over the years for various systems. (it works on lots of platforms.)

I tried a graphics tablet as a mouse replacement for many years. I liked it because I was doing a lot of drawing and photo editing and it gave me a lot more precision. But I kept having to put the dang stylus down (it would then dutifully roll onto the floor) and make a keyboard command, then go get the stylus and continue. Even after I eventually trained myself to put the stylus down in a better place, this device switching cost me a lot of time, and the stylus was a right-hand-only device for me.

Eventually I turned the tabet upside down and used it for a mouse pad, at lap level. That helped quite a bit, but it interrupted cat visitations, so it could not continue.

3. I finally cut a T-shaped board out of plywood that fits into my desk drawer slot but sticks out a foot. It gives me enough room, at the right level, for my kb, mice, AND the occasional cat and/or dinner.

YMMV, but these three types of modifications (kb tilt, mouse size, kb/mouse level) cost only about $150 or so to try.

Razer Boomslang (1)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 10 years ago | (#8795297)

I rather like the Razer Boomslang for two reasons:

- It has a very low profile
- It has extremely high resolution, so I hardly have to move my hand to use it accurately.

try getting a Marble mouse from logitech (1)

pwassink (498401) | more than 10 years ago | (#8795801)

As a wrist and shoulder rsi victim, I found after trying a dozen of "especially designed" and priced accordingly devices that this is the most conveniant and relieves more muscles than any other i've tried. Wheelmouses should be banned anyway, those are great for home use. Do not try to scroll trough your daily portion of screeninfo please .. !

Also and in combination with the marble i make a lot of use of my Spaceball-5000 and not only in 3d designing, most apps support at least the scroll and zoomfunctions which are usually more stressing than the other mousefunctions ..

Good luck trying to find a way out .. !


Kensington Expert mouse (1)

smoon (16873) | more than 10 years ago | (#8796005)

It's actually a trackball. I've been using their various incarnations for almost 10 years now, and can heartily recommend the latest one -- it's black, has a ring around the ball that acts as a scroll wheel, and is optical (the older mechanical ones needed cleaning every month or so).

They are large, but extremely comfortable use (possibly because it's large). Cost is around $100, and worth every penny.

I also use a little gel wrist cushion in front of it (it comes with a leatherette thing but it's not as good as the little oval gel cushions you can get.

Pretty easy to get -- CompUsa stocks them for example.

Replacement for Logitech TrackMan Marble FX? (1)

Refried Beans (70083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8796094)

I use this trackball at work and at home. I've been using it for over five years now and I just love them. Unfortunately they seem to be discontinued. What's the best replacement for them? I'd like to stay with a similar style trackball. I don't really want to go back to a mouse.

Any ideas?

Re:Replacement for Logitech TrackMan Marble FX? (1)

Watts Martin (3616) | more than 10 years ago | (#8797600)

While this will make me sound like a shill for Kensington given that I was talking up their keyboard earlier today on a different thread, they have a trackball called the "Orbit" that's very similar to Logitech's Marble Mouse. It's not quite the same thing as the TrackMan, but it's worth looking at -- I bought one as a replacement for a Marble Mouse (which I've always liked) and have found it slightly superior to Logitech's. It does have the potential drawback that it only has two buttons, though. (Windows and Mac drivers for it do a surprisingly good job of getting around that limitation, but I've never tried it under other operating systems.) If you're willing to pony up the extra money, everyone who's tried Kensington's $99 "Expert Mouse" trackball seems to love it. So far I haven't been willing. :)

Re:Replacement for Logitech TrackMan Marble FX? (1)

Refried Beans (70083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8798607)

Looking at these mice remind me of an old trackball ad for (I think) Logitech. It had two trackballs side by side with hands on top of them. One of the trackballs looked like that and had a green alien hand which had four fingers and was symmetric. The other was a TrackMan with a regular human hand.

Looks like the Cordless Optical TrackMan is more my style. I'll have to try one out at a local computer store.

Ratpoison and Contour (1)

ncrantz (147267) | more than 10 years ago | (#8797098)

Been there with the pain. It used to take all weekend for the actual pain to subside from a work week at the keyboard. My wrist's would start acting up after about an hour at work.

My solution:
A Kinesis keyboard and ratpoison (the wm).

After about a month my wrists improved, I added a contour (perfit) mouse (got 2 a hamfest for $1.)

big hands (1)

spudgun (39016) | more than 10 years ago | (#8797119)

I'm sick of mice that don't fit my hands
250 mm finger tip to base of palm

most mice feel to small

I had a Kingston mouce that was big , but my fingers were made sore by button use.

can't remember it's model ....

Re:big hands (1)

spudgun (39016) | more than 10 years ago | (#8797149)

200 not 250 darn it

switch hands (1) (189534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8797319)

I know this sounds like a simple answer, but I think I've avoided a significant amount of pain over the past few years by simply disciplining myself to mouse lefty.

Touch Stream Stealth (1)

dr_leviathan (653441) | more than 10 years ago | (#8797350)

I use a Touch Stream Stealth which has the mouse "built in". Check it out at:

What I can tell you is this:

(1) it will take you at least 2 weeks to get used to this keyboard

(2) you probably will never be as efficient as this as on a regular keyboard (about 80% to 90%, depending on what you're doing)

(3) you'll want a regular mouse connected when you need fine control

(4) is has definitely helped my fingers recover (my fingers were suffering rather than my wrists)

(5) its pricey, at about $350

(6) your hands/wrists can recover, but it takes months to heal

Trackpoint keyboard (1)

cafebabe (151509) | more than 10 years ago | (#8797683)

I had the same problem as you -- I must have gone through 6 different mice before I gave up. I finally made the connection that the only place that I didn't have wrist pain was on my laptop, where I had a trackpoint instead of a mouse. I did a search and found an external keyboard with a built-in trackpoint [] and haven't used anything else since. You can pick them up for ~$50 on Google.

Not only has my wrist pain gone away, but my coworkers find my lack of a mouse so frustrating that they stay the hell away from my computer. Added bonus!

Re:Trackpoint keyboard (1)

cafebabe (151509) | more than 10 years ago | (#8797705)


MS Trackball Optical (1, Interesting)

mhazen (144368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8797797) rd /productdetails.aspx?pid=012

Yeah yeah, but hey, I use it under Linux too. ;) In any case, it's the one that best fit my hand after trying out several. The angle , size, and slope make it near-perfect for painless mousing, all day long, and it's accurate as they come.

If you're a lefty, you're out of luck as far as I know, because I've not seen any good trackballs which are left-hand specific. Trackballs (more to the point, thumb-balls) are great... I used to like the Logitech ones, but the MS ones fit my hand much better.

Four points. (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 10 years ago | (#8797840)

1- as someone else has mentioned, using a mouse with your "off" hand actually seems to help alot for a variety of reasons. A few people at my workplace use lefthanded mice and swear by them.

2- Just like ergonomic keyboards, having your palms facing inward is best. Most mice [even the newer logitechs] are flat. Not good for the wrists.

3- Big mice are better. They keep you from closing your palm, causing stress there, and generally from resting your wrist on the table, causing stress as you move left and right.

4- Sensitive mice are better. My personal favorite, mice which are very sensitive require less movement to do a task, and thus less work and stress on your mousing arm. Good for someone like me that plays alot of games.

Dual Kensington Turbo Mouse Pro _Wireless_ (1)

lpq (583377) | more than 10 years ago | (#8798593)

Trackball -- yes.
Try this on for size. Buy two (yes expensive) Turbo Pro's -- Wireless variety. Set them both for the same channel. It has 4 main buttons and a wheel that does dual duty as a middle mouse button. I set lower right button for select and drag, and lower left for double click, upper left and right as normal. It has 6 programmable buttons for anything you want.

The secret is the wireless option. Since both mice are on the same channel, you can switch hands to whichever is more convenient -- seamlessly. As long as you don't try to use both at the same time, they don't send signals. Battery life is pretty good -- though I use a steady stream of rechargables.

I use 1 receiver (it's USB, but they include a USB-PS/2 adapter). Because my carpal tunnel symptoms are worse in my right hand, I've become predominatly a left hand mouzer, but the ability to mouse with either hand w/o the hassle of moving the mouse -- but which ever is more convenient is a major bonus. Sometimes I need to primarly use keyboard keys on one hand or the other in combination with a mouse press. Depending on which hand has to be on the keyboard, I can automatically mouse with the other hand.

Becoming bi-mousual, is a major help for overuse on one-hand mousing problems.
Also...kensington support has been *GREAT*. Lifetime warantee on the mice. If one malfunctions or I just wear it out -- I call and give them the serial #, and they send out a new one (and I return the bad unit or not depending on random audits). I've had them for about 3 years and maybe gotten 2-3 replacements because I've worn down the wheel's such that the ball starts rubbing against the walls of the inside of the mouse and no longer moves. No problem...they send out a new one. I've never had a company (besides Dell with next business day on-site service) be so good with support. Compare that type of support to HP "Depot" service where you are without your part for 1.5 months while they ship the unit to India to be repaired. I don't think so!

Seriously. It's your lively hood. Lawyers don't think twice about spending 1000's of dollars a year to keep up on the law, and electricians don't think twice about shelling out for a high quality Fluke over a cheaper Radio Shack model.

It's no wonder so many programmers get so damaged, when they work with bear skins and stone knives to carve out their programs. It's your hands, your eyes, your back, your spine (ergo seating, proper posture, monitors with print that doesn't cause you to squint or have to bend forward to read). Think about it. Whether your employer pays for it or not -- if they won't, I'd still claim it as a tax deduction as a necessary tool of your trade (IANATC).

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