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How to Hold a Mouse: 3 Grips

The way you hold your mouse can prevent uncomfortable cramping. Learn the three most popular grips and their benefits here.

If you work with computers (as most of us do), there’s a good chance that your mouse is an integral on-the-job tool. Between opening new web browser tabs, navigating important documents, and clicking “send” on all those emails, you’re really asking a lot of your resident desktop rodent.

But when you use a computer mouse, it isn’t just the hardware that’s working hard. Your wrists, hand, and fingers are putting in a hefty amount of effort to power your daily productivity—and all that scrolling, clicking, and cursoring can wear on your body over time. 

The good news? Knowing the best way to operate a computer mouse can help you avert the long-term damages that 9 to 5 clicking can incur. Below, we detail three user-friendly mouse holds so that you can enjoy a more comfortable and productive office experience.

What Are the Risks Of Gripping a Mouse Improperly? 

You might not give much thought to how you use your mouse. After all, what’s to know? Most of them are designed in a way that seems made for the human hand, making learning to use one properly feel like an intuitive experience.

However, if you’ve ever experienced a hand cramp or pluck of joint pain while at work, you’ve probably suspected there are better ways to get the job done. As it turns out, improperly gripping your mouse can tax the joints of your hands, fingers, and wrists. Over time, this can even lead or aggravate some hand-related medical conditions, including:

  • Arthritis – Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that can affect joints all over your body. A slew of repetitive movements required of computer users, from rapping on a keyboard to moving around your mouse, can make arthritis symptoms like pain, swelling, and mobility issues worse.1
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – This condition is caused by repetitive motions that put stress on the median nerve, a major nerve running from your armpit to your hand that’s responsible for movement and sensory perception.2 People with Carpel tunnel syndrome typically experience wrist pain and difficulty grasping or holding onto objects.3
  • Tendinitis – Tendinitis refers to a condition that’s caused when tendons become irritated or inflamed, leading to tenderness, swelling, and pain in the affected areas. Holding a mouse improperly has been associated with tendinitis in the hands, wrists, forearms, and even elbows.5
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    How to Hold A Mouse: Three Grips

    There are three primary mouse holds, also known as mouse grips, that most people resort to when operating a mouse.6 Each grip has its own benefits, but they may be influenced by factors such as:

    • What you’re using the mouse for
    • The setup of your workstation
    • Your personal preference and comfort

    You’ll want to experiment with different holds to find what works for you, your workflow, and your office tasks. Starting out with an ergonomic desk setup is foundational for learning what adjustments you’ll want to make to your mouse holding technique (don’t worry, we’ll touch on this in a later section).

    That said, the following three mouse grips are the best to use in an ergonomic work environment:

    1. The Palm Grip – This grip involves gently resting the full waist of your hand and fingers on the mouse. Generally, it’s considered the most ergonomic mouse grip because it relieves stress on the hand. However, this grip can limit your hand’s mobility and may interfere with a more nimble, focused uses of the mouse (like using Photoshop).
    2. The Claw Grip – If the work you do on your computer requires you to zoom your cursor around your monitor, then the Claw grip may be for you. For this grip, rest the base of your palm and your fingertips on the mouse while arching your knuckles slightly. This will enable you to use both the scroll wheel and buttons while maintaining a steady foundation for your hands and wrists.
    3. The Fingertip Grip – Like the Claw grip, the Fingertip grip is conducive to tasks that require agility. Here, only the tips of your fingers come in contact with the mouse, allowing your fingers to move quickly while staying light on their feet (as it were). However, this grip requires more work of your hand.

    How to Hold A Mouse Properly: General Tips 

    There are certain things to keep in mind when it comes to mouse holds that don’t put unnecessary strain on your hand and arm. If you’re experiencing discomfort after a day at your computer, implementing a few small changes may be all you need to do to turn your mouse into a tool you don’t mind hanging on to.

    To start making your work station more ergonomic, try taking your cursor for a spin with these tips: 

  • Choose the right mouse – It’s important that you choose a mouse that’s best suited to your unique hand. Using a mouse that’s either too big or too small for your hand can drastically affect how you use it. You’ll know you’ve found the right mouse size when you can perfectly cradle it in the palm of your hand, allowing your fingers to drape naturally over the buttons and the scroll knob. 
  • Avoid tight holds – Your mouse isn’t sentient, so there’s no need to worry about it scurrying away from you! Instead of maintaining a tight grip, soften your hold so you only exert a small amount of pressure when using it.
  • Keep the mouse close – Your hand and wrist aren’t the only parts of your body at risk when you don’t hold a mouse correctly. If your mouse isn’t positioned close enough to where you’re sitting, you may also cause injury to your upper arm and shoulder. To avoid this, keep your mouse near enough to your keyboard that you can maintain a 90° angle of your elbow.
  • Avoid “windshielding” – “Windshielding” refers to the motion you make with your wrist when you move it either radially (toward your thumb) or ulnarly (toward your pinky finger). While it might seem like a relatively low-intensity movement, doing it over and over again, as can happen when you’re using a mouse, can damage your tendons, nerves, and blood vessels. 
  • Mouse Options For People With Hand or Wrist Pain

    Knowing how to hold a mouse in a manner that reduces your risk of developing conditions like tendonitis and carpal tunnel is important. But what if you’ve already developed one of those conditions, or you’ve already sustained injuries to your elbow, wrist, or hand? 

    There’s no need to throw out your mouse and go back to a typewriter. In addition to following the tips outlined above, it may be worth your while to make a few other adjustments, starting with trading in your old mouse for a more accomodating model.

    Two of the most user-friendly designs include:

  • A vertical mouse – Most of the risks associated with using a mouse stem from the way you must twist or torque your wrist to grip it. This can put pressure on that median nerve we mentioned earlier. A vertical mouse is designed with your wrist health in mind, enabling you to grasp your mouse perpendicularly, rather than laterally, in relation to your monitor. This eliminates the need to use the twisting manuever a standard mouse requires.8
  • An ergonomic mouse – When it comes to getting an ergonomic mouse, you have several different options. Ergonomic computer mice come in a variety of styles, all of which aim to improve your mouse use by providing a more comfortable experience and preventing excess stress on your hand.9 Some select styles include a trackball mouse, pen mouse, angled ergonomic mouse, or a sculpted mouse.  

    Ultimately, your relationship with your computer mouse is personal and highly specific to your physicality and the work you do. Most of the time, taking a fresh approach to your grip and exploring designs build around your needs (rather than your computers) is all it takes to make those desk hours more comfortable, and more productive.

    Juniper Office: Office Furniture For Ergonomic Bliss  

    For an tool named for its tiny size, a computer mouse has a powerful effect on how at home you feel in your body while at work. The same is true for every other element of your office setup: your desk, chair, and a host of other office implements could be getting between you and your comfort. 

    If you suspect your office space could use an ergonomic renovation, Juniper Office can show you how. Juniper Office has more than 100 years of experience connecting workplaces with the furniture they need to thrive, from ergonomic desks, chairs, and conference tables that keep you and your employees safe, engaged, and productive. 

    Whether you need to remodel a single room, your entire office, or you’re starting from scratch, we’re here to empower you to create a space designed for your specific needs, goals, and mission as a company. As a company trusted by some of the most successful businesses in the world, it’s time you and your employees join their ranks. Start designing your perfect office today with Juniper Office.


    1. Creaky Joints. How to Text and Type with Less Pain When You Have Arthritis.
    2. Cleveland Clinic. Median Nerve.
    3. Mayo Clinic. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. ​​
    4. Mayo Clinic. Tendinitis.  
    5. Princeton University Health Services. Ergonomics & Computer Use.

    6. Ergonomic Trends. How to Properly Hold a Mouse (Reduce Your Risk of Injury).
    7. Ergonomic Trends. Different Types of Wrist Movements Explained. 
    8. Das Keyboard. Why Try a Vertical Mouse or Ergonomic Mouse? 
    9. Ergonomic Trends. Vertical Mouse Benefits and How to Use Them Properly.