Mouse Strategies and Preventing Aggravation of Repetitive Strain Injuries

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) are common within computer-based work, and pain or aggravation of the injury is particularly common when using a mouse. Repetitive movements associated with using the mouse, poor fit of the mouse, contact stress, and / or awkward postures while using the mouse are all factors that can all contribute to aggravation of RSI symptoms. Fortunately, there are strategies that can be applied to reduce exposure to these factors.

Essentially, by reducing the total daily mousing time for an afflicted limb and reducing extreme postures while mousing can provide reductions in total risk factor exposure. Some specific strategies to allow this are:

  • Use of the mouse with the opposite hand to reduce the amount of mousing activities within the affected limb, and also give that limb intermittent rest periods. Remember to switch the mouse buttons when using it in the other hand.
  • Another option is to use keyboard short-cuts to diminish the required amount of mousing. Below is a list of commonly used keyboard short-cuts. Another great keyboard short-cut resource is the following link:


Ctrl + C Copy highlighted text or item
Ctrl + X Cut the selected text or item
Ctrl + V Paste the text or object on the clipboard
Ctrl + Z Undo the action
Ctrl + Y Reverse the undo
Ctrl + F Open the ‘find’ box
Ctrl + S Save what you are working on
Alt + tab Quickly switch between open programs
Ctrl + backspace Delete a complete word
Ctrl + arrow key Move by complete words in the text
Shift + arrow key Highlight text one character at a time
Ctrl + Shift + arrow key Highlight text one word at a time
End Move to end of text
Home Move to beginning of text

Outlook Short Cuts

Ctrl + 1 When in Outlook, open email
Ctrl + 2 When in Outlook, open calendar
Ctrl + N When in Outlook, new email
Ctrl + R When in Outlook, reply to email
Ctrl + F When in Outlook, forward email

Word Short Cuts

Ctrl + B Bold highlighted text
Ctrl + I Italicize highlighted text
Ctrl + U Underline the highlighted text
Ctrl + E Center highlighted text
Ctrl + Shift + L Create bullets
Ctrl + K Insert Hyperlink
  • Ensure that you have a mouse that properly fits your hand size to ensure proper support while performing mousing activities, and prevent over gripping and excessive finger movements to move the mouse. A common example of an individual using an inappropriately sized mouse is when a portable notebook/laptop mouse is used by an individual with an average-sized hand.
  • Ensure you are not overreaching for the mouse. The mouse should be placed directly beside your keyboard, and on the same surface as your keyboard to minimize reaching distances. To further minimize reaching, a compact keyboard that does not have a numeric keypad, or a keyboard with the numeric keypad on the opposite side as your mousing hand, could be considered for individuals that are small in stature.
  • Consider booking an ergonomic assessment to obtain guidance to determine if an alternate mouse size or type would be appropriate.

If you have any questions or would like to suggest other blog topics, don’t hesitate to contact EWI Works.