by Michael Dorausch, DC

Have you ever wondered what your hand would look like on an x-ray while using your mouse? Probably not. Either way, I was experiencing some numbness in my right thumb after several days of excessive blogging activity and I thought it would be interesting to see how the bones in my wrist and hand were lining up along with my mouse.

I started with my Microsoft cordless mouse and placed it on the cassette that holds the x-ray film. Don’t try this at home.

Microsoft cordless mouse x

I set the radiology unit on a timer so I’d have time to position my hand properly over the mouse before the exposure was made.

blogging hand before x-ray

On a normal hand or wrist x-ray one might just want to see the carpal bones (bones of the wrist) or the carpal and metacarpal bones (larger bones in the hand). In this case I wanted to see all 8 carpal bones, all 5 carpal bones, the five metacarpals, the phalanges, and the distal phalanges (fingertips). I also needed to not over or under expose the image.

blogging hand x-ray

Success! The tips of my fingers (distal phalanges) are a bit overexposed but the thumb view came out clearly and that’s what I was most interested in. The really bright white areas are metallic parts of the mouse. On x-rays, areas of the most density area typically appear the whitest. The plastic casing of the mouse barely shows up, nor does most of the soft tissue of my hand, except for that meaty area between my first and second carpal bones (thumb and index finger).

After studying the image I discovered I’d been using my thumb frequently to motion the mouse to the right (notice it’s in an unnatural bent position). That resulted in additional strain that could be avoided. I ended up switching to a smaller and more lightweight mouse (Microsoft Notebook Optical Mouse 3000) and started using a 3M mousing surface to allow for easier glide. These were small changes, but they’ve made a big difference.