A vertical mouse is a type of computer mouse that sits upright and has its buttons and scroll wheel rotated 90 degrees. While it functions no differently than a standard computer mouse, it greatly improves how your body reacts to long periods of scrolling.
A flat mouse is used with your hand over it, which can cause your wrist to become elevated. A vertical mouse, however, lets your hand rest on it in a thumb-up position that's more efficient and safer. Vertical mice have left and right buttons and typically have scroll buttons to move up and down pages.
A vertical mouse is designed to keep the hand in an upright handshake position while you're scrolling. This keeps the ulna and radius bones and the elbow and shoulder joints in a natural position. In contrast, the traditional palm-down mouse can, over time, put immense pressure on these areas.
The vertical mouse falls into the category of ergonomic computer equipment, designed to let the body perform tasks from a neutral position to avoid overuse injuries or muscle strain. Examples include ergonomic desks, office chairs and mice.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition caused by straining the median nerve that runs from the hand through the wrist. The result is aching, tingling or numbness in the hand and forearm.
Studies are inconclusive on the benefits of ergonomic computer equipment, including vertical mice, regarding this syndrome. However, several studies have concluded that vertical mice relieve pressure on the wrist. One, published by the National Institutes of Health, found that using a vertical mouse instead of a flat mouse decreased rotation in the wrist and lowered the need for movement of the wrist muscles.
Mouse shoulder is an overuse condition that causes pain in the hand, wrist, shoulder and sometimes the neck. The condition is caused by how the hand interacts with a typical flat mouse. Strain on the wrist and lack of arm support while using a mouse lead to burning or aching in the affected areas. It's typically associated with office workers, can be very painful and can lead to time out of work.
A study from the National Institutes of Health examined the impact of using ergonomic mice to reduce the effects of mouse shoulder. It found that using an ergonomic mouse produces far less adverse effects on the forearm and shoulder than a flat mouse.
For those who have arthritis in the hands, wrist, arm or shoulder, the elevated wrist position from using a conventional mouse can be painful. However, items such as ergonomic keyboards and the vertical mouse may help people with arthritis avoid unnecessary bending, twist or weight bearing on the wrist.
A randomized trial published by the National Institutes of Health examined the difference a workplace ergonomic intervention — using equipment designed to help you execute tasks in more natural positions — can have on the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
After assessing each person's workstation and body mechanics, occupational therapists introduced ergonomic interventions including changes to equipment such as computer keyboards, desks, chairs and mice. The study found that over two years, this reduced pain and made work-related tasks easier for people with both forms of arthritis.
So while it may take some months to see improvements, it’s worth exploring if a vertical mouse can help to relieve arthritis symptoms in the hands and wrists.
A vertical mouse can help you work faster. It requires less movement of your wrist and hand than a flat mouse, and since you’ll be able to click and scroll more comfortably, also makes it easier to work at your computer longer, with less fatigue.
Since it may help prevent repetitive-stress injuries, ergonomic equipment such as vertical mice can reduce time away from work for recovery. Some vertical mice also reduce the amount of clicks needed for simple actions, such as using one click instead of a double click for opening files.
This wireless mouse prevents wrist discomfort and can be configured to your needs by installing the Evoluent Mouse Manager software to your computer.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Kensington Ergonomic Vertical Wireless Mouse
The angular slope of this vertical mouse keeps your hand and wrist in a neutral handshake position during use. It takes AA batteries and has an auto-sleep mode to conserve battery life.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Logitech Lift Vertical Ergonomic Mouse
The soft rubber grip and thumb rest make this a comfortable fit. It comes with four customizable buttons so you can optimize your workflow as needed.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Staples
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Lauren Farrell writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.