Touchpad burn – update

About a month ago I mentioned that I’d got a sore finger from using the touchpad on my MSI Wind. And I still have. I thought it might be something electrical – it sort of feels as if my finger is being repeatedly microwaved, albeit at very low power. But over time it builds up and starts to really hurt.

I still haven’t had a chance to try touchpads on other laptops – I’ve been way too busy. But no one else has reported this kind of problem. Anyway it’s probably best if I don’t test other laptops until my finger has fully recovered.

I’ve just had a close-up look at my finger and it seems to have a sort of blister on the tip of it. Possibly from friction – i.e. overuse or pressing too hard, or possibly from a burn. Either way, I’m going to have to stop using the touchpad.

But what to use instead? A mouse is no good, because I use the MSI Wind in bed, armchairs, sofa, car, etc and there’s nowhere flat to rest the mouse. So I’ve just ordered a trackball instead – a Logitech Trackman. In case you don’t know, it’s much like a mouse except that the ball is on the top instead of the bottom. The mouse part stays still and you push the ball around with your thumb. It’s perfect for me because you can use it anywhere. And I’ve heard that once you’ve got used to using a trackball you’ll never go back to a mouse. I’ll let you know how you get on.

Dave Haslett, ideas4writers,


54 thoughts on “Touchpad burn – update

  1. I have a Dell… it burns!!!


    It really really hurts I don’t want a mouse cause I can put it anywhere!

    Hope you’re better

  2. Yes! My MSI Wind’s touchpad makes my fingers very sore for no apparent reason.

    I did the $8 touchpad replacement with the Synaptics touchpad from the Eee PC partially because the Syntellic one sucks and also to see if my finger would stop burning. Nope. It doesn’t replace that surface on the outside.

    I’m still looking for an answer….

  3. Indeed, I suffer the same on an Asus’s EEE. But it is correlated with the temperature of the notebook, I guess. When it is being run for some hours being closed, then the touchpad hurts. But if the PC has just been started, it is cold and using it feels allright.

    As for the solution, I should just learn keyboard shortcuts. :) And artists should use tablets.

  4. Yeah, same here on a Acer lappy…burns once the laptop warms up then sensitivity lasts for days.

    No solutions then other than to stop using the touchpad? :-(

  5. Yes, there are 2 solutions: use a mouse, or do what I do and use a Logitech Trackman – sort of an upside down mouse where the mouse stays still and you push the ball around with your thumb. You can use it pretty much anywhere. I’ve been using mine for over 18 months now, and I’m very happy with it. It’s not quite as fast as using a mouse, but it gets the job done.

    But my pointing finger still suffers from sensitivity from using it on the touchpad all those months ago. I assumed (wrongly) that it would return to normal after a while, but it never quite did. It’s not painful, but there’s a very slight discomfort whenever I touch anything, whether typing, clicking mouse buttons, and so on. I guess it’s permanent nerve damage, and I’ll just have to live with it.

    I certainly won’t ever be using a touchpad again.

  6. I had a similar problem using a Toshiba Satellite touchpad. The pain started shortly after I did (1-) Increase memory 4X in the computer (2-) Changed my AC power adaptor for a cheaper model. There where hypothesis found on other sites which stated that the burning might be due to nickel contamination from the pad, which I don’t find plausible at all. The finish of the touchpad, even if it wears off, should not cause damage either since it’s less rough. I thought the cheap AC which came without a ground plug might be a cause, but it doesn’t seem to be the culprit. I have tried two those two changes to my settings and it seems to have solved my problem, so I think my particular problem was related to heat (surface temperature) of touchpad, even if the temperature was not very high, over time, a slight burn did result which sometimes lasted for days. Ok, so here what I did change: the Power Management (win XP), I chose the “LAPTOP” setting instead of “HOME/OFFICE” setting. That setting has much more importance than I thought it did… Everything to do with energy usage / heat managements etc… I also did the following, lower the energy level of my wireless card located under thetouchpad. Since my router is quite close to my machine, I was able to choose every minimum setting without problem. The result in terms of heat reduction was spectacular and visible within an hour. The pain in my finger never returned. Before that, it was there every night. I am not a computer expert but this worked for me and thought it would help other to share it. For details on how to set the wireless card, there are in depth tutorials elsewhere on the net. You must know what you are doing because some settings can ruin your card.

  7. Just another case but here it goes;

    same case with a dell xps, no problem at all with the laptop itself but the same symptons, thought it would get better after several weeks but no it resents everytime i use a touchpad, more if its hot, ill try the Logitech Trackman Wheel see how it works, thanks.

  8. Toshiba Satellite. I can’t believe they put the wireless under the mouse pad. Low level radio waves are harmless at a very short distance, but point blank they can cause heat effects. The body can stand cold, but it only takes a few degrees of heat to start killing cells. My guess is that the heat of the unit mixed with the heat effects of the radio waves is just enough to start burning the fingers. The body actually modifies itself based on injuries. With repeated burning, the nerves in the fingers become over sensitive to monitor the problem. Don’t sit a “laptop” on your lap either. I don’t want to go into detail, but I spent a lot of time at the doctors before I realized that the “laptop” was damaging my urinary track. Over time, it could have caused cancer. When your cells are being damaged more then the body’s ability to fight off the cancerous cell mutation you will get clinical caner. It’s like cordless phones. Science admits the radiation causes the brain cells to heat up. 98.6 is normal, 101 is a fever, and neurons start dying. The only solution is to not allow these devices to be more les then 6 inches from your body. That is my opinion on it. Thanks for posting everyone. I’m hooking up the optical mouse. There really should be some kind of public warning about the dangers of these things. One day, this will be a syndrome, and a lucrative law suit.

  9. I’ve had this problem with every laptop I’ve ever used.

    Just so you know, portable mice do not have to be used on flat surfaces. I regularly sit in bed and use my mouse on my leg or on the sheets. It works just perfectly.

  10. I have the same problem with my 15″ MacBook Pro purchased in 2010! I now use a mouse, but the damage seems permanent. Plus my fingertips become so sensitive that even typing begins to hurt. I don’t know if there is a trackball option for a mac.

    1. Most trackballs should work with Macs – they plug straight into a spare USB socket, no software to load. Visit Amazon and type Logitech trackman in the search box and you’ll see a good selection – from other manufacturers too. They product description will tell you whether they’re Mac-compatible.

      Most of the current ones seem to be wireless but I prefer a wired one. The wireless ones go to sleep after a while and you get a bit of a delay when you try to use it again, which I find irritating.

      If you want a mouse that will work on any surface, try a laser one. They’re a little more expensive than regular optical mice, but definitely worth it – no skipping or glitches and very accurate.

  11. i m using a glove now. i have a gateway , however my index finger is completely burned and the cells, i can feel are burned competely.

    My fingers look horrible. I , going to the doctor for help.
    Then I m suing!

    1. Let us know if the doctor or lawyer can do anything – there are a few of us in the same position. It’s been 3 years for me now and my index finger is as bad as ever. I don’t think it will ever go back to normal.

  12. I am so glad I found this forum. I cannot use the track pad on my Dell laptop at all, so my son installed a wireless mouse for me–and my symptoms seem worse! I couldn’t sleep all last night–the tingling went from my hand up my arm and into my upper back at times. I wondered if I was getting cancer, or MS. Not a good feeling. Thought I would have to sell the laptop, but I may try the Logitech trackman. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Actually, just reading these posts (and others at a another similar site) have made me feel better. I’m at work now, on a desktop, and have no problems at all.

  13. I never had this problem – I had a MacBook Pro from early Spring 2008.

    I started a job where I used their MacBook Pro from 2011 and within a few minutes my fingertips were super sensitive and felt like they were getting pricked by thousands of tiny microneedles and the burn was out of this world after 20 minutes.

    I hoped that it was just that machine, but I just got a brand new MacBook Pro made in Summer 2012, for myself, and this thing is killing me. The touchpad is always cool to the touch – my laptop does not heat up. I alternate fingers. I can’t stand it. It’s obvious to me that the touchpad on this MacBook Pro is made of something different or something different is happening under it – something is horribly wrong. I wonder how many people this is happening to.

    I’ve cut a piece of paper exactly the size of the surface area of the touchpad and while I found relief in my fingertips, I’m experimenting with different papers to see if I can get the precision/texture I need (vellum?). I’m currently using Scotch Invisible Tape and this seems to be working well – just wish I could cut an exact size for the trackpad, as the bumps created by the edges of the strips are not ideal for smooth scrolling, etc.

    Genius Bar had no love for me.

    Anyone figures out what this is, or how to fix it, please post an update.


  14. My friend and I are using computer ( Laptop & Desktop- Windows & Mac) more than 7-10 hours per day. both of us use mouse but our fingers is burning a lot, we went to see different doctors too, but they cannot understand and their solution is really stupid, they are far away from new High Tech., anyway my hand ( those parts which are touched to mouse pad) start to burn too which I am using some of mouse Pads too, some pads are fine but some are not, I bought expensive but make me feel burning and it will take hours to recover, I search a lot in different website, even medical websites, no answer for it. it makes me crazy really. if you find the answer please share it here.

    I had some problem with my eyes too which after watching monitor for long time, I was seeing blur or kind of lightly Dizziness, but I have bought computer glasses and it working well and even I dont need to use eyes drop. just share it with you. hope it works for others.

  15. I have a Hewlet Packard laptop. My fingers get numb on the left hand when I use the touchpad with it. But, I can’t use a mouse with the right hand, due to carpel tunnel. That is the reason I started using the touchpad in the first place. This numbing only started happening after using the touchpad for a year. If I go on vacation, the numbing stops. Everytime I use the computer and touchpad, which is my only solution, the numbing starts again. If I do it a lot, the numbing goes up my arm and also to the other hand and arm at night. My blood pressure is just fine, so that is not the problem. I think I will HAVE to find an ergonomic mouse for the right hand and try that. This is something I just can’t take. I am always squeezing my hands to get the feeling back into them. I think that the electrical impulses coming into the fingertips from the touchpad are damaging to the nerves and muscles and arteries in the fingers.
    Now that I see others are having the same issue, I am certain it is the hardware. We should all contact the maker of our specific laptops and start letting them know there are health problems with this technology that needs to be addressed.

  16. GLAD I finally found this blog! I thought I was alone and started thinking of all sorts of things that could have gone wrong with my fingers. I have had this electric shock sensation for a while now, and it occurs with any touch screen or trackpad – from a dell, to the new macbook air, to my iPhone and iPad… it is just devastating, and I look around me in surprise that no one seems to feel anything like I do. I believe certain people are more sensitive to electrical current going through their finger tips than others, and perhaps things like diabetes may amplify the sensitivity. Almost all cellphones and electronic products are now migrating to capacitative touch, and I feel like I’m being left behind. I went in to the Apple store the other day top buy the new iPhone 5S. As I was trying the new fingerprint recognition app to recognize my fingerprint, I felt a very uncomfortable and much more powerful electrical sensation in my finger tips that made me pull my hands away from there home button really quickly. Unfortunately, I had to leave the store without buying the new iPhone. I really do hope Apple and other electronics manufacturers acknowledge this issue and do something about it.

    1. That’s a really good point. I was just thinking of buying an iPad myself – yet I’m still suffering the ill effects of “the burn” 4.5 years after the incident that caused it. For some reason I had it in my head that this only applied to touch pads, but you’re absolutely right that it probably applies to touch screens as well. Light dabbing on the screen should be ok, but repeated use, dragging, zooming into photos and maps, rotating them, etc, will undoubtedly cause the same problem – at least in those of us that are sensitive to it. I’m surprised this hasn’t received more attention in the media.

      1. Hey, I have EXACTLY the same issues! Everything began on my Asus N55SL laptop 1.5 years ago. After that I’d started to be sensitive to any capacitive touch screen ( more or less )!..
        And thank you for this blog post, before this I was thinking I’m the only guy on this planet feeling this sh*t!


  17. Try using a screen protector. Simplest solution would be to try using clear packaging tape / Clear Scotch Tape. Cut it to fit the touch pad and stick it just like you stick a protective cover on a smartphone, it helps.

    1. TaurusThree, you are definitely not alone. I still have the problem 5 years later – it has not gone away and it has not got any better, even though I no longer use any touch surfaces.

      1. Dave, what do you think, does our problem occur because of a hardware fault ( when experiencing this at the first time ) or the problem raised because of some “not normal” excessive usage of touch panel ( again at the first time ). Do you feel the pain only on fingers? Don’t you feel a tingling sensation on your face/ head etc.? ( I do, though mostly the fingers are affected )… And yes, I have a progress on this thing: e.g. a year ago I was feeling very uncomfortable using my Nexus 7 tablet’s touch screen, right now that effect is almost eliminated. Though after this time my Asus N55SL laptop’s touchpad is still causing pain and itchiness ( on my fingers and face ). And I am not sure is this caused by hardware problem? Or “just” side effect of burned nerves when used the touchpad very aggressively…

        And yeah, that’s a pity that mass media never covered this…
        Sorry for my poor English.

      2. I don’t think it was a hardware fault as I get the same feeling from many different devices. But it is definitely something that people should be warned about. In my case I believe it was due to excessive usage of the touch panel – editing images intensively for about 2 hours. This caused some sort of long-term nerve damage. Whether it was from friction or electrical conduction, I am not sure. In everyday (non-computer) use I don’t notice any problem, but using the scroll wheel on my mouse is enough to set it off again, even now, 5 years later – and that does not conduct electricity. I can also feel an uncomfortable tingling (not exactly pain, but not pleasant) when using any kind of touch screen – iPad, smartphone, etc. I don’t feel this with any of my other fingers, only the one that was damaged. I don’t feel any tingling elsewhere.

  18. I use saran wrap over the keyboard and mouse pad. Forget about the Touch Pad. There is no good work around for me. I haven’t tried the trackball. I heard it was an allergic reaction to nikel developed over time with increased use causing more issues. What website developer/internet marketer/graphic designer doesn’t over do it?
    I would love to know if the trackball works with the hope of eventually getting rid of the burn.

    1. The trackball definitely works, though it’s slower than a mouse. But if you’re in a position where you can’t use a mouse it’s a good option. But I’ve found that once you have “the burn” you’re stuck with it. My finger hasn’t ever recovered and I’m now hypersensitive (on all fingers) to all touch devices, including phones, iPads, GPS, etc. Only the burnt finger still burns; the others just feel uncomfortable, though I can at least use the devices if I have to.

  19. My problem seems to be the Logitech wireless mouse. First I got eczema in fingers and hand. Now I have got swollen red/purple and stiffened fingers. Is the wireless waves or the laser in the mouse which does this damage. Somebody medical ought to research this.

    1. To: Ajo Elder:

      It is the laser. I had a wired laser mouse and after using it for many months, I developed sever burns on my fingers. My nails also developed ridges and became hardened. After I switched to non-laser mouse, the burn symptoms went away. However, my nails seem to have changed permanently.

      I have also discovered that I have become extremely sensitive to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) radiation, which developed from using the CRT monitors. A lot of people (although a small minority, as a proportion of the population) have developed very serious disabilities due to such exposures. The medical profession and government continue to deny the existence of such illnesses and the people are unable to receive disability benefits.

      Some excellent books have also been written. If I remember correctly, one of them is by B. Blake Levitt, “Electromagnetic Fields.” I hope more people will come out and describe their experiences. Some of these products may be causing genetic damages. The manufacturers should be sued. But, first there needs to be verifiable research evidence.

  20. To: Ajo Elder:

    It is the laser. I had a wired laser mouse and after using it for many months, I developed severe burns on my fingers. My nails also developed ridges and became hardened. After I switched to non-laser mouse, the burn symptoms went away. However, my nails seem to have changed permanently.

    I have also discovered that I have become extremely sensitive to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) radiation, which developed from using the CRT monitors. A lot of people (although a small minority, as a proportion of the population) have developed very serious disabilities due to such exposures. The medical profession and government continue to deny the existence of such illnesses and the people are unable to receive disability benefits.

    Some excellent books have also been written. If I remember correctly, one of them is by B. Blake Levitt’s, “Electromagnetic Fields.” I hope more people will come out and describe their experiences. Some of these products may be causing genetic damages. The manufacturers should be sued. But, first there needs to be verifiable research evidence.


    Research urgently needed by medical scientists, work-safety personnel and manufacturers to discover why:-

    Thanks for your reply, Fazal. [ I also have permanently ridged nails, but I think that this started in the days before the internet] .

    1. My fingers (mouse-hand only) did recover from having been swollen up and bluish red with swollen and stiff joints during a few weeks when I was using a laptop on a plugged-in laptop (not using signal wirelessly).

    But at that time I did actually use a friend’s Logitech wireless laser mouse, so perhaps I blamed the latter device (for its wirelessness) un-fairly?

    The “CURE” during that period appears to have been from having the LAPTOP PLUGGED IN AND NOT VIA WIRELESS SIGNALS FROM MODEM.

    2. But, now that I am using wirelessly a laptop and a USB laser but wired mouse (which does not feel hot) the fingers are again getting swollen and red (like burns) – same hand as before. (I have been trying-out the swop to this from the wireless laser mouse).

    This implies that a USB wired laser mouse could be just as bad as the wireless laser mouse (if it is the mouse rather than the modem to laptop signal which is doing the damage).


    3. From period (1) above, and ignoring the mous-es , it also appears feasible that USING INTERNET VIA WIRELESS SIGNALS FROM THE MODEM is capable of initiating such BAD SWELLING AND BURNING.

    During previous years past while using a laptop with wireless signals I was experiencing also a type of ECZEMA ON THE VERY DRY MOUSE FINGERS. I was scrupulous about washing hand-towels etc. Then, I was also cleaning, and, recently, completely throwing away all bendy mouse mats (in case this might be an allergy like that from LATEX).

    I tried writing to computer companies about “mice” and whether some of the surface parts contain nickel, (in case of a NICKEL ALLERGY). But nobody replied.

    The worst fingers are the INDEX and the “LITTLE” FINGERS. When I first started to use a mouse (despite being right-handed) I trained myself to operate a mouse with the left hand (hoping I could use pen in right one).

    I was thinking of asking a doctor to give me a blood test to seek possible arthritis factors, or gout (caused by blood chemicals).



  22. One of the oldest fraternities advises us to wear a cloth glove. I have a wired trackball and was burned until I got a glove.

  23. I feel pain in my fingers, using touchscreen,
    Starting with heating, then as I persisted, the skin started to open near the nails. I started to reduce using smartphone. But even with moderate use, some eruptions poped out in my fingers, near the digital area.
    I could not believe it was the touchscreen. Then I made a test.
    Changed the fingers I most use. The problem started in the fingers changed for. So I made a period of ten days without using touchscreen and slightly using computers also. My fingers got healed, recuperated themselves.
    I have using touchscreen smartphone Motorola and last one and a half year Sony Z Ultra, although other touchscreen smartphones seem to have the same result.
    My fingers even got slightly hot and that makes me think on microwaves. But this occurs only with the actual capacitive touchscreens technology, not with the resistive old ones.
    I can really feel when the touchscreen starts to harm my fingers.
    And I believe the wifi is related to this problem.
    Remember: microwave ovens are enclosed and protected against radiation in a metal cage, so are the desktop computers. Laptops and smartphones are not. Why? Why is this permited as it is far known radiation is harmfull to people?

  24. I feel sensitivity in my finger while using a touchscreen or a laptop mouse. I asked some people and some of them were also having same problem. What is the solution. Can somebody tell?

  25. feel sensitivity in my finger while using a touchscreen or a laptop mouse. I asked some people and some of them were also having same problem. What is the solution. Can somebody tell?

  26. I have actual burns, with scabs over sores on my thumb and first two fingers of my right hand from the touch screen and the touch pad of my notebook. What can be done about this? I switched to a wireless mouse, but it still seems to buzz all the way up my arm. I have a Dell. Please tell me I’m not crazy.

  27. I am so glad I’m not alone. I use a 2011 Lenovo, and sometimes the problem appears, sometimes not, but it can result in what is nearly a blister, and if I accidentally hit the side of my ring finger (which is the one I use mostly for my touchpad) it can be excruciating. There is no discernible heat on the touchpad itself, and it seems worse when my own skin is dry. Someone on another forum suggested nitrile gardening gloves; since I garden, they won’t be wasted even if they don’t work for this. I do think it might be two different issues–the burning being one, and the pain when I hit the side of my finger the other. But surely someone knows more about this. If not, it’s time to write to our various computer manufacturers.

  28. I’m glad I found this thread. I’ve been doing research online as well as trying out different touchscreens, particularly with regard to smartphones because I find myself very sensitive to them, and my fingertips become numb after a short period of use. I have an old basic cell phone because I have not yet found a smartphone that will work for me. I’m mildly sensitive to my MacBook Pro’s touchpad too. The longer I use it, the worse my fingertips feel.

    Here’s what I found out: there are two basic types of touch sensitive technology – one is pressure sensitive and the other is capacitive resistive. Most touch sensitive screens and touchpads are now of the second variety. It’s a recent technological development that has allowed more functionality, leading to things like smartphones and tablets.

    Capacitive resistance screens use your body’s capacitance (an electrical term roughly correlating to the charge held by a device, in this case a human body) in order to function. My current best understanding (no pun intended) is that some of us have less myelin sheath around our nerves and that’s what makes us more sensitive to capacitive resistance screens than the rest of the population.

    According to what I’ve read, it appears that the manufacturers are aware of this problem. I haven’t yet seen any evidence that any of them are concerned about those of us with this heightened sensitivity. There is some concern among some health-minded consumers about the possible consequences of long-term exposure to these electrical technologies regardless of whether or not one has extra high sensitivity in the short-term.

    Although I have not yet found a good solution other than avoidance, I hope the information I have provided is helpful.

      1. A little update: I have learned that the electro-sensitivity I’m experiencing is probably a result of thinning myelin sheath (the insulating coating on nerves). One thing that seems to help rebuild it is consuming lecithin. The recommended amount is generally 2 TBS per day. I have been consuming supplemental non-gmo sunflower lecithin at about 1 TBS per day for a month. My sensitivity seems to be reducing.

  29. i’ve had similar experiences with trackpads and touchscreens…
    with the trackpad i use a logitech mx performance mouse – which i really like.

    for touchscreens i’ve used many stylus type input devices. the best one i’ve found so far is the adonit jot pro which uses a finer point and what i assume to be a magnetic tip with a low friction puck.

    the eraser-tip type stylus did not give me a good user experience so i can’t recommend them.

    the adonit jot pro is not perfect as the tip is delicate and can break if dropped. the barrel is also too smooth for extended use. i modified it by putting a rubber grip on and it feels much better and i also added a lanyard on it for anti-rolling when placed on a flat surface. the other problem is the tip seems to lose sensitivity and not work at all. i pulled the tip out and stroked it over a rare earth magnet and it seem to revive it…

    the other stylus i tried is the truGlide apex which is battery powered and has a fine point which i like. the unit i had got very hot and the battery didn’t last 2 days so i’m not too happy with that… it did seem to work before the battery died

  30. A year ago I got an iPhone and a MacBook Pro, my first time using touch screens and pads. I noticed immediately the tiny buzz, like tiny little electrical shocks, and my fingertips hurt. It didn’t take long enough to have been explained away just by friction. Likewise I noticed a general achiness in my legs when sitting with the laptop on my thighs, and switched to always using a pillow. I bought an EMF protective case for the phone which makes a helpful difference. If I borrow someone else’s phone and hold it for more than a few seconds I have felt tiny but sharp prickly feelings, like heat/pain. I’ve compared all of these electrical shock/electrical buzzing sensations to static electric shock of folding laundry, or the shock you feel if you lick a battery to see if it is dead and woops, it still has a charge, but the prickles are even finer and tinier in scale than those- an analogy might be the size of the bubbles in a sparkling beverage, some have tinier bubbles than others.

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