Are Trackpads Making Our Hands Mutate?

Illustration for article titled Are Trackpads Making Our Hands Mutate?

Former industrial designer Hemmant Jha recently noticed something odd. Two fingers on his dominant hand are somehow more rigid and firm than any of the others. He suspects that years of two-finger scrolling on his MacBook Pro are the cause.

I have slim and flexible fingers. Not given to needless physical activity like working out or climbing mountains, this author has made enough lifestyle choices that have allowed said fingers to remain slender and supple. And I'm hypermobile. These digits are perfect tools for fine artwork and penmanship, the manufacture, assembly and disassembly of electronic or mechanical devices – anything that requires a high degree of precision.

Having remained comfortable with these digits for so long, it was more than a little disconcerting to notice that the first two fingers of my right and left hands no longer looked like they belonged to the same person. Not horribly disfigured or anything, but quite obviously different in appearance and feel. The two digits in question on the right hand are more muscular and firm. Gone was the supple flex, replaced by a somewhat robust rigidity. Could it be the incessant tapping away on the keyboard? Unlikely, since I use both hands and more than just two fingers to type.


It's the two-finger scroll on my Macbook Pro. During the last 3 years, I've used the two-finger scroll for everything from web browsing to Illustrator and Photoshop – it's a marvelous and indispensable tool that, once experienced, one cannot do without.

Fans of Asterix and Obelisk will remember the comic book where the duo participates in the Olympics, only to compete against athletes honed for the express purpose of excelling at one sport [and one sport only]. My condition brings to mind the champion javelin thrower who had one scrawny arm, while the other ballooned with muscle – at this rate, that's where I will be very soon. Has anyone else noticed anything similar?

Reprinted with permission from Think More.

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Seriously, how do you people use trackpads?