Left-handed versus right-handed computer mouse use: effect on upper-extremity posture

Appl Ergon. 2004 Jan;35(1):21-8. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2003.10.001.


Alternatives to reduce postural constraints have to be sought in order to reduce musculoskeletal complaints related to computer work. This study aimed at documenting the impact of using the mouse on the left side of a standard keyboard (with a right numeric keypad) on upper-extremity posture. A simulated computer task was performed by 27 subjects in a laboratory before and 1 month after ergonomics training. Shoulder flexion and abduction, as well as wrist extension were reduced with left-handed mouse use. Sixteen of the 27 subjects truly converted to using the mouse with the left hand. After a month of using the mouse with the left hand, the time required to perform the same task reduced, the perceived difficulty and discomfort improved, though the time to perform the task was still longer than when using the mouse with the right hand. For work involving both keyboard and mouse use, and without the need of the numeric keypad, it would probably be preferable to use a keyboard without the numeric keypad if the mouse is to be used on the right-hand side. If such keyboards are unavailable, an interesting alternative would be to use the mouse on the left side provided sufficient time is allowed to get accustomed to it.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Computer Peripherals / standards*
  • Equipment Design
  • Ergonomics*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Workplace