Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

 

Tennis elbow - lateral epicondylitis

 

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis Elbow is a frequent cause of pain for computer users. The pain comes from the tendon which connects to the boney bit on the outside of the elbow. Sometimes pain is also felt in the muscle on the outer side of the forearm.

Muscles and tendons get damaged when they are held in a tense position for too long or over stretched.

Tennis Elbow symptoms are easily diagnosed by your Doctor, perhaps with X-ray or ultra-sound being used to aid diagnosis. Golfers Elbow and Tennis Elbow are almost mirror conditions of each other. See Golfer’s Elbow

What causes Tennis Elbow

Computer users sadly are today’s tennis elbow sufferers and it is rarely caused by smashing a tennis ball hard with a backhand stroke!

Traditionally, causes were such as tightening a screw with your arm extended, shoveling snow, chopping wood, gardening, walking excited dogs on leashes etc. All scenarios where the arm was tense and extended for a while. Now, computer use is a significant cause!

General Computer Posture RSI Advice for Employer

Computer and gaming causes of Tennis Elbow

Computer users will find that their mouse is the likely cause! A conventional wired mouse has two problems:-

  • The image and video below show how a conventional mouse twists the arm a quarter turn from its natural resting position. If you use a laptop touchpad, notice how that also forces your arm into a strained and twisted position.  
    Mouse Elbow - image of arm twisting
  • Your mouse wire may also trail down the back of the desk and unconsciously you may be using the mouse with your arm stretched as well.
  • The wire may trail down the back of the desk and you may be unconsciously using the mouse with arm stretched.

 

How computer users can treat and protect against Tennis Elbow

Rest is key to tennis elbow recovery. Avoid gripping, screwing/unscrewing things and lifting heavy items.  Vigorous massage of the forearm by a physiotherapist may be helpful and sometimes steroid injections.

Ergonomic mouse - vertical mouseErgonomic Vertical Mouse

For Computer users, an ergonomic vertical mouse is the best means of avoiding further computer mouse or laptop touchpad strain and as a preventative solution. Evoluent is the best, in our opinion, and our recommendation. Perixx and Anker are good however and at only a fifth of the price are well worth trying on a tight budget.

Vertical mice look strange but are surprisingly easy to get used to after 20 minutes or so and most sufferers feel relief immediately.

Tennis Elbow Strap

Tennis / Golfers Elbow StrapA tennis elbow strap fastens around your forearm 1 to 2 inch below the elbow.

They work by by reducing the amount that your forearm extensor muscle can contract and thereby limiting further stretching of the tendons that cause your pain.

 

The Computer Posture store

Not for profit and existing solely to help follow sufferers