Thumb Pain caused by using a Mouse – How Can You Fix It?

Reviewed by Betsy Sanchez
Betsy Sanchez

Betsy Sanchez is a professional graphic designer with over 10 years of experience. She loves all things tech and that's why she started writing on different topics online now here, working with us to help the audience who are looking for perfect comfort.

Thumb Pain caused by using a Mouse

One of the main reasons for having thumb pain can be due to the excess usage of the Computer Mouse. Since the thumb comprises about 42% of the overall motion in your hand, repeated movements in the form of, scrolling, mouse-clicking, and mouse traveling could be the contributing factors for thumb pain.

It is an ergonomic injury that often happens in a workplace, blame the load and stress of work. The good news is that with the right ergonomic remedies and exercises, your thumb pain can go off quickly.

Have a look at certain types of Thumb Movements:

Different Types of Thumb Movements

To know how thumb pain can occur from using a mouse, it is essential to know the different types of thumb movements we all do in a day. Check them out:

1. Abduction

This movement refers to the thumb moving upwards to the ceiling as the palm faces upwards and the hand lies flat. In our day-to-day life, whenever we hold large objects is the time when the abduction of the thumb takes place.

2. Adduction

Adduction refers to moving the thumb pack in-line with the other fingers. It can also be defined as the thumb movement toward the second metacarpal.

3. Flexion

As for how it sounds, flexion can be termed as the bending of the thumb into your palm.

4. Extension

The extension can be described as the spreading out of the thumb in a way where it is away from the palm.

5. Opposition

Opposition is the term used for the movement of the thumb by crossing the palms towards the other fingers.

6. Retropulsion

This refers to the thumb being raised upwards, while the hands lay flat in the palm down position.

7. Circumduction

This occurs when the thumb rotates in a circular direction at the joint of your thumb as the hands lie flat.

How the Mouse plays a part in the contribution to Thumb Pain

Whenever one operates a mouse, numerous thumb movements take place in the form of abduction, extension, retropulsion, flexion, etc.

On the other hand, repeated motions in terms of scrolling, hand positioning, mouse-clicking, mouse traveling do affect your thumb substantially along with the rest of your fingers. On a given day, you may feel the following sensation in your thumb and other fingers –

  • Experience a burning sensation.
  • Numbness and tingling.
  • Stiffness.
  • High chances of the development of ganglion cysts that starts to grow from tendon and joint nodules.

Additionally, when you apply a lot of force to press the spacebar or grip the mouse more tightly, it can maximize the chances of having thumb pain.

Top Ergonomic Solutions for Thumb Pain

If you’re the one experiencing pain by using a traditional mouse, it is recommended that you immediately make the switch to a pointing device that requires less thumb activity, or it needs a different set of thumb muscles to operate as compared to a regular mouse.

Check out some of the ergonomic solutions for thumb pain below –

Vertical Mouse

A Vertical Mouse is designed in such a way to place the wrist, hand, and forearm in a neutral or upright position. Also, the requirement of thumb extension is minimal to hold a vertical mouse as compared to your traditional mouse.

By holding a vertical mouse in a neutral position, it untwists the bones, forearm muscles, tendons, by letting a user have a relaxed operating hand while they are using the mouse. Moreover, users operating a vertical mouse have experienced low fatigue and discomfort while sitting in front of the computer for a longer duration.

In case you’ve set up your mind for a vertical mouse, VerticalMouse 4 from Evoluent is highly recommended to ease up thumb pain. Apart from having an all-new improved thumb design that focuses on reducing soreness and strain, it works like a charm on all computer platforms by simply connecting it via a USB port.

Trackball Mouse

Trackball Mouse does come in two types in the form of a thumb-operated and finger-operated trackball mouse. In an overall comparison, finger-operated trackballs are the superior choice as they let you use different fingers, and palms of the hand to operate it.

If you’re looking for the ideal finger-operated trackball mouse, have a look at Kensington Expert Wireless Trackball Mouse.

Roller Mouse

When you talk about an ergonomic mouse, a roller mouse does fit in that list. Unlike a regular mouse, it is placed in front of the keyboard instead of being positioned on the right or left side. The placement of the roller mouse eliminates overreaching and there is no requirement of gripping or pinching to operate it, which makes it unique.

A roller mouse has a long bar that you roll with the help of your fingers and shifting it from left to right together lets you control the cursor. There are particularly two benefits of using a roller mouse for individuals with thumb pain.

1. You do not require your thumb to operate a roller mouse.

2. Both hands can be used to distribute the strain on the other hand as well to limit it.

A top-notch recommendation for a roller mouse will be RollerMouse Red from the brand of Contour Design.

Handshoe Mouse

This unique designed mouse provides a relaxing experience to the hands while operating it. The shape of the mouse offers a dedicated cradle to provide support to the thumbs while the hands are resting on it.

Also, limited gripping is all it requires. Do check out Hippus as they tend to produce some fine Handshoe Mouse.


Going for a touchpad could be a wise option when you’re experiencing thumb pain. The motions which are gesture-driven can save your hand from gripping the mouse. Additionally, you do have the option of not using your thumb at all while operating it.

Apple Magic Trackpad is an amazing choice for a quality touchpad with a range of multi-touch gestures and Force Touch technology.

5 Thumb Exercises

Thumb exercises are a good way of cutting down on thumb pain as they improve blood circulation and strengthen the muscles in that area.

1. Thumb Lift

As your hand lay flat on the desk, lift the thumb upwards gently towards the ceiling. Hold this particular position for about 5-10 seconds, lower down your thumb later on.

Do this exercise 5 times.

2. Thumb Extension Stretch

While the palm faces upwards, horizontally extend your thumb as much as you can. Hold the position for three seconds until your thumb returns in line with the rest of the fingers. Repeat this exercise 5 times for each thumb.

3. Thumb Abduction Stretch

When the palm is facing down, extend the thumb horizontally away from the fingers. After that, bend down your thumb until it points directly to the floor. Hold it for 3 seconds until your thumb returns to its original position. Try doing this exercise 5 times.

4. Thumb Flexion Exercise

While the palm face upwards, bends both the joints of your thumb as far as you can. After that, move your thumb across the palm. Hold the position for about 3 seconds before your thumb goes back to its original position.

Try repeating this exercise 5 times.

5. Thumb Circumduction Exercise

Another interesting thumb exercise is to keep your palms facing the ceiling and do circles with your thumb. Keep changing between clockwise and anti-clockwise circular motions.

Other Solutions that can help ease Thumb Pain

Apart from embracing thumb-related exercises and making changes to your mouse, there are a few suggestions one needs to take to ease thumb pain.

1. Regular Breaks Required

Yes! Small micro-breaks can surely help in easing thumb pain. These breaks can range from 30-60 seconds in which you can stop using the mouse, and rather do a little stretch, walk around or hydrate yourself.

2. Change in Diet

The reason for thumb pain could very well be osteoarthritis too. In such a situation, changes in your diet could be the perfect solution. As per studies, it has been suggested that Fish oil is effective in reducing inflammation in the joint as it comprises Omega-3 content.

Additionally, Vitamin K in the form of Spinach and Kale is known for repairing the damage to the bone and cartilage too.


Thumb pain can be common when an individual is using the mouse for a long stretch of hours. The pain can be unbearable at times, but proper changes in the form of getting an ergonomic mouse, doing a set of thumb-related exercises; making changes to your diet can eliminate your thumb pain. Even when you’re using the mouse continuously due to work, spare yourself a minute to relax and unwind.