Whatt about ergonomics? Will the Trackpad help relieve stress to my wrist, forearm and shoulder? Anyone has FIRST HAND experience?

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  • Best Answer:

    I found that if you use a 'Mouse Pad' that has the raised wrist support at the bottom end, using the trackpad is absolutely wonderful ! No more wrist and forearm cramping from scrolling, picking up/putting down the mouse, as well as the 'clicking' with the mouse has been replaced by a single finger 'Tap' !!

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  • I've used a Trackpad now for about 7 weeks and have developed debilitating pain in my shoulder and down my deltoid and brachialis muscles, and along the tendons in my forearm, affecting me in all activities of daily living. I'm now using the Trackpad with my left hand, whilst I consider getting a mouse. (I have used an ordinary mouse for many, many years with no problems.) I think it's because with the Trackpad your whole arm remains motionless but rigid and tense. Also the pressure required to 'click' the Trackpad becomes progressively greater as you move up the pad: at the low, front edge it is a light press, but because one is constantly making gestures, the fingers generally end up being nearer the top of the pad, where the pressure required to click is much greater. As you click you can feel tendon movement occurring deep inside your shoulder joint. Perhaps it is this clicking that has caused my injury.

    I have looked at Apple's two options for changing back to a mouse: unable to really identify which one is going to be more like a traditional mouse, with which I never had any physical problems. Advice appreciated!

    The Trackpad is lovely and neat to look at. It takes a lot of getting used to, but once mastered it is fine as far as using it goes. However, watch out for the beginnings of RSI and be prepared to stop using it, would be my advice.

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  • I have extensive damage to my wrist and shoulder, and the only way I can continue to use a computer is because of the magic trackpad.

    Depending on your injuries, the result might be different, but for me, it is a perfect accessory that allows me to continue computing.

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  • I use PC almost the hole day. I had pain in my right wrist and shoulder.

    1) I got used to use the mouse with the left hand - it relieves the stress from shoulder, since there is no Num-pad and the mouse can be closer to your center.

    2) I tried about 10 different 'ergonomic' mice and about 5 trackballs. I stopped on Logitech Trackman Marble. I have been using it for the last 2 years. With my huge monitor estate (3x27") I can easily cross mouse/track ball pointer from one corner to another.

    3) To reduce strain on hand wrist further, I tried 5 different curved keyboards and 1 split keyboard (Kinesis® FreestyleTM adjustable split keyboard) - which was good. However, it has a high key profile. I found that 'notebook type' keyboard is the best for my wrist, since the way you fingers need to travel up and down and the effort pressing the keys is minimal. I have selected among those I tried - Apple Wireless keyboard. If you don't need the Num-pad often - this is could suit you well.

    4) I also switch to Dvorak (alternative to QWERTY) keyboard layout. (I touch type). And even there are mixed opinions in the Internet, I am very positive opinion about it and glad that I have switched 1 year ago.

    I have tried Magic Trackpad at Apple store. A click is very rigid button - difficult to push - too much strain on the wrist, if used often. If you are going to use it, you need to switch to a 'tap' mode in the Mouse/Trackpad settings. I am not buying it mostly because it would be slower for me to move the pointer on my screens. If you have only one monitor, it could be good enough for you.

    Whether trackball (Logitech Marble) or Apple Magic Tarkpad:
    Cons: in case if you are a gamer or need a precise handling of a pointer (e.g. extensive Autocad work), it is not for you
    Pros:
    + good for your wrist and shoulder
    + you don't need to move a cup of coffee when you need to move your cursor from one corner to another ;)

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  • I haven't been able to use a mouse for a few years now because of wrist pain after just several minutes of use--pain that persists for hours or days. So far, the trackpad seems okay--it's a much more relaxed, natural position than having to grip a mouse.

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  • I've been using it for about a month, now, and find that positioning is VERY important. Previous replies about wrist-supporting gel pads, and other ergonomic considerations, are germane. (I have rotator cuff issues in both shoulders, so I also use it ambidextrously and in various different positions to ensure that I'm not overworking any particular position.)

    I position the trackpad at, or below, the level of the keyboard on a 'proper' keyboard tray, or on my lap, when sitting in a chair, in such a position as to leave my arm hanging at a natural, relaxed angle from the shoulder (i.e., straight down) and with plenty of wrist support (i.e., so that wrist and part of forearm weight are supported). I try to ensure that I'm not stretching my arm in any way. Because it is a wireless device, one can position it easily wherever one finds it most comfortable, without having to worry about wires and cables not being long enough, getting tangled, or being tripping hazards. I even use it from across the room (on an iMac 24") for browsing, with it resting comfortably on my lap.

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  • A couple suggetions:

    1. get a belkin waverest gel wrist pad, this will support your wrist.
    2. I find the magic trackpad causes me to have more tension in my wrist and forearm even with the waverest pad, compared with using the evoluent verticalmouse. I have tried several different ergonomic mice, and that one seems to be the best. The downside of the verticalmouse is that it's not very portable, and you need to protect it when traveling as like most mice it's made of cheap plastic. Also it doesn't have the fancy features of the magic trackpad.

    (me: mac user for 25 years, with no wrist/arm issues).

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  • I took my Magic Trackpad to the Apple Store and met with a Genius. (Who makes up these names?) He made some adjustments to the settings based on what I said I would prefer, and gave me a lesson on how to hold my hand. The thing I found most useful was to rest my wrist on the surface in front of the trackpad, instead of trying to hold it up. (Forget what your piano teacher may have told you about holding your wrists up! Heh.) In my case, the trackpad is low enough on a rollout keyboard tray so my arm stays relaxed. Then it's just my fingers moving around. Much smarter. I'm convinced that my old-fashioned extended keyboard is a problem, as it makes the trackpad further away. Soon as I can afford it, I'll get a new, smaller keyboard to match. I still have my old, defective mouse (only scrolls down, not up) plugged in for the rare times I have precision work in Illustrator. Scrolling is so much more fun with the trackpad. I just need to remember to use all the fancy tricks it can do. Even with the best ergonomic set-up, frequent rest, stretching and wrist/hand massage are all essential. Thanks for all the great suggestions, everyone! Happy track padding!

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  • The trackpad works extremely well to virtually eliminate the types of stresses you describe. I found that once I became familiar with the trackpad, about two days, I stopped getting pains in my hands, wrist, forearm, and shoulder.

    The best approach for me was to just turn on all the gestures which meant a lot of swiping and almost no clicking. Since I got this trackpad, I have virtually stopped using my magic mouse. I really like the sensitivity of the trackpad and I was impressed how easy it is to learn and to use.

    The only thing that has degraded on this trackpad is that one of the rubber buttons has broken off. The trackpad still works fine but I can feel the imbalance. I will be replacing the trackpad. However, in fairness, I think that the rubber button came undone because I was a bit rough in handling the trackpad.

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  • I really like the functionality of the trackpad but it is a disaster on my wrist and forearm. Looking for accessories that will fix the problem. Besides the mousepad suggestion are there any others? Without a solution I will have to ditch the trackpad.

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  • I have a lot of pain issues--NOT from using my computer or mice or a trackpad. Ergonomics are important with ANY device you use. Example: When using my laptop, a 17" MacBook Pro, I sit in a semi reclining position with my feet elevated on an ottoman. My laptop sits with the hinge near my knees and the trackpad placed just below my belly button. This allows my arms to rest on the laptop where I also use gel wrist supports. This also provides breathing space for your laptop. I've used this technique for years without any pain from using my laptop.

    Having described that method, I suggest you adapt your keyboard, trackpad, and/or mouse to a similar position. Make sure your arms are supported. Perhaps you can place your computer such as an iMac on a desk or table in front of your chair; your chair should allow you to lean comfortably back so you can raise your legs and hold a lap desk in the same way I hold my laptop. There are kidney-shaped boards for this purpose or other padded devices available on the market at most office supply stores. I like the kidney-shaped one because it is large enough to hold ALL my Apple gear, including the wired keyboard with a numeric keypad, a trackpad and both my trackball mouse and Apple mouse. I hope this helps relieve pain and make your computing more comfortable.

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  • In my experience if you plan to use a lot the mouse-as for working in design or others- go for a big, I mean big mouse. Microsoft has a couple of those. That is the best option. Never, never use those small mouse for notebooks. And the trackpad is not better for that matter.
    If you can, start using both hands for the mouse (alternating them). It's hard at the beginning but worth the effort when you master it. It's so cool when you can move your mouse and type at the same time ;)

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  • Yes! I've been using the Magic Trackpad for just three weeks now, and already my wrist pain is gone! The pain actually started when I first began using the Magic Mouse two years ago. I tried ergonomic mouses in the past but still had trouble in my wrist.

    The Magic Trackpad relieved the pain entirely. I highly recommend you try it out.

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  • I use an iMAC about 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. I've started developing pain in my fingers over the last month. I believe that there are many factors that could be at fault here but one especially is the excessive use of finger movement with the trackpad compared to a mouse.

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  • I've found when using Any Input Device such as a Keyboard, Magic Mouse and/or Trackpad… keeping your hand as parallel to your wrist and arm as much as you possible can is the best way to protect yourself from carpal tunnel. If you notice when using a keyboard wether at work or home, non apple keyboards have Legs to raise the front side of the keyboard 1 or 2 inches. ["Front side" F1, F2, F3… ]

    Raising the front of the keyboard only tweaks your wrist more. Sure it makes it easier to reach the number keys and Function Keys but is it worth the outcome...

    As far as the Trackpad, it's the same height as the apple keyboard which won't make your wrist hurt as bad…for me at least.

    Hope it helps someone looking for comfort.

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  • For years, regular mice have hurt my wrist. For years, I have used Logitech trackballs. That is until I got this trackpad. Even the trackball would occasionally wear on my wrist, but never the trackpad. It is not perfect, it lacks precision with slow small movements, but it is the closest I have been to a perfect pointing device.

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  • I'm not going to say my trackpad is causing me pain yet. I've only had it for three months. But I've experienced tightness in my forearm no pain, YET! I found myself holding my arm down by my side shaking my arm trying to get blood down to my forearm. It feels real tight, like I've been exercising. We'll see, maybe I'm just on the computer too much! :-)

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  • I had very bad wrist and sholder so I'm still using my foam cushion mouse pad with mine but i'm still enjoying it.

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