Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

Tennis Elbow – elbow and arm pain – advice for computer users and RSI avoidanceman with tennis elbow pain

Tennis Elbow is a frequent cause of elbow and arm pain for computer users. Computer users sadly are today’s tennis elbow sufferers and it is rarely caused by smashing a tennis ball hard with a backhand stroke!

Tennis Elbow, may not be the the only RSI condition affecting you as a computer mouse or laptop touchpad user. Other RSI conditions may be waiting in the wings which are also associated with using your computer or laptop so be alert to other pains which can occur anywhere between your hand and neck.

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis Elbow 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.

Tennis Elbow symptoms are easily diagnosed by your Doctor, perhaps with X-ray or ultra-sound being used to aid diagnosis. Golfer’s Elbow affects the other side of the elbow joint and is a mirror condition of Tennis Elbow with treatment being essentially the same.

Tennis elbow - lateral epicondylitis

What causes Tennis Elbow

Muscles and tendons get damaged when they are held in a tense position for too long or over stretched.  Traditionally, other causes of Tennis Elbow arose from actions such as tightening a screw with your arm extended, shovelling snow, chopping wood, gardening, walking excited dogs on leashes etc. All scenarios where the arm was tense and extended for a while and often with a twisting action.

Computer and gaming causes of Tennis Elbow

Computer users will find that their mouse or laptop touchpad use causes their arm to be held in tensed postures for long periods. As the hands on the clock spin round, you don’t realise how long the muscles and tendons in your arm have been tensed. The solution is to find a more relaxed posture for your arm which you can’t get from conventional mice and keyboards.

Pain relief – Tennis Elbow Strap

Tennis / Golfers Elbow StrapA tennis elbow strap can be helpful in reducing the pain. It fastens around your forearm 1 to 2 inch below the elbow.

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

Address the problem: get yourself an ergonomic vertical mouse and keyboard!

Tennis elbow, typically in right handed people, affects the right elbow because of the issues described below.

  • Although your mouse is the real issue, it is heavily influenced by the type of keyboard you have. Right-handed people will find most desktop keyboards have number and function pads to the right of the standard keys which forces their elbow further away from their side. As a result, your neck, shoulder, arm, elbow and wrist have to support a hovering arm causing all those tendons and muscles to be tensed, fatigue and damage causing pain.

    Compact or mini-keyboards don’t have these extra keypads and so make it possible to use a vertical mouse with your arm at rest and elbow touching your side; far more natural and relaxed.
    Keyboard RSI where the problem lies

  • A conventional mouse twists the arm a quarter turn from its natural resting position and you have to grip your mouse to move it. Holding your mouse arm in this posture for any length of time causes your muscles and tendons to be tensed, fatigue, damage and cause pain.

    A vertical mouse has your forearm resting on the desk in a much more relaxed and natural posture without the same need to grip when moving it.
    mouse-arm-twisting-problem

Good Computer Posture

Your checklist

  1. Good PC PostureMaintain good posture – check these items:-
    • Adjustable height seat
    • Lumber support
    • Screen at arms length
    • Top of screen no higher than your eyes
    • Wrists should be in line with your forearm and hand, not at an angle, when using keyboard and mouse
    • Upper arm should be by your side and your inner elbow should be just about touching your side. Your forearm should be near horizontal and directly in front of your side. Numeric and function keypads on keyboards make this difficult to achieve and the tensed twisted arm posture is a major cause of RSI conditions.
      This is why we strongly recommend a vertical ergonomic mouse and compact ergonomic keyboard
  2. Many people slouch unconsciously. Ask people to check you when you’re not aware. If you slouch, highly effective software to monitor your posture exists using a webcam to spot when your posture ‘goes off’
  3. Don’t maintain any fixed posture for long periods. You need to move your body around a bit so deliberately place things you use a lot too far away from your desk so that you have to stand up to use them. Physiotherapists suggest, humorously, that a seat with upturned pins on it is ideal…ensuring you didn’t sit there for long!
  4. Other tools and aids relevant to computer posture RSI conditions generally are below. : 
    • pull-along laptop/office bag considerably reduces the twisting action on your upper back and shoulder area if you carry a shoulder bag with a laptop or even a substantial lunch box in it!
    • Vibration and massage therapy can bring fast relief to RSI pain caused by tight muscles.
    • A telephone headset eliminates the strain placed on your neck, shoulder and arm, particularly if you hold a handset between your cheek and shoulder.
    • Software that types for you gives the wrists, arm, elbow and neck a rest through being able to dictate emails, reports etc.

For more details and explanatory videos see our ergonomic vertical mouse and compact keyboard page.

Ergonomic Mouse & Keyboard Buying Guide

UK Suppliers UK Suppliers

Link to UK multiple purchase and B2B supplier

Note for Evoluent mice size see sizing tab above

  • DXT Ergonomic Precision Mouse - Wired

    DXT02 Ergonomic Mouse

    Less expensive, wired version. Easy to use, hold like a pen. Ambidextrous – for left/right-handed.

    View UK Supplier
  • DXT02W-ergonomic-vertical-wireless-mouse

    DXT02W Ergonomic Mouse

    Excellent! Easy to use, hold like a pen. Ambidextrous – for left/right-handed.

    View UK Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse L/H-Normal

    Left-handed normal-size version (consider DXT02 instead if you have small hands)

    View UK Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse R/H-Normal

    Right-handed version (their normal size is for larger hands)

    View UK Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse R/H-Small

    Right-handed small-hand version (normal size is for large hands)

    View UK Supplier
  • perixx-407

    Perixx Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock.

    View UK supplier
  • saturnus-mini-keyboard

    Sboard Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock

    View UK supplier
  • Anker 2.4G Wireless Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse

    Wireless Ergonomic Optical Mouse from Anker

    Not ideal. Better than ‘normal’ mouse. Only suitable for larger hands

    View UK Supplier
  • Perixx-wireless-ergonomic-optical-mouse

    Wireless Ergonomic Optical Mouse from Perixx

    Not ideal. Better than ‘normal’ mouse. Only suitable for larger hands

    View UK Supplier

USA Suppliers USA Supplier

Note for Evoluent mice size see sizing tab above

  • DXT02W-ergonomic-vertical-wireless-mouse

    DXT02W Ergonomic Mouse

    Excellent! Easy to use, hold like a pen. Ambidextrous – for left/right-handed.

    View USA Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse

    Select from left-hand, right-hand, small-hand, wired and wireless options

    View USA Supplier
  • perixx-407

    Perixx Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock.

    View USA supplier
  • saturnus-mini-keyboard

    Sboard Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock

    View USA supplier

Canadian Suppliers Canadian Supplier

Note for Evoluent mice size see sizing tab above

  • DXT02W-ergonomic-vertical-wireless-mouse

    DXT02W Ergonomic Mouse

    Excellent! Easy to use, hold like a pen. Ambidextrous – for left/right-handed.

    View Canadian Supplier
  • evoluent-vertical-mouse-profile

    Evoluent Vertical Mouse

    Select from left-hand, right-hand, small-hand, wired and wireless options

    View Canadian Supplier
  • perixx-407

    Perixx Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock

    View Canadian Supplier
  • saturnus-mini-keyboard

    Sboard Mini Keyboard

    Slim compact keyboard. Integrated numeric keypad with Num Lock

    View Canadian Supplier

The Evoluent VerticalMouse 4 regular size models which are sometimes called 'large' (Right Wireless, Right Mac, Right Bluetooth, Right and Left) are for hands at least about 7 inches or 178 mm from the tip of the middle finger to the wrist crease. Hands shorter than 7 inches/178 mm may be more suitable for the VerticalMouse 4 Small.

Evoluent mice sizing guide

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