Outline / Table Of Contents
Part One: Optimize Your Ergonomics Align your equipment with your body and improve your work habitsPart 1
On the milder side, the symptoms of Mouse Elbow can be:
- Chronic muscle fatigue and/or soreness,
- Persistent muscle tension that won’t subside with rest,
- A dull and/or throbbing muscle or tendon ache
And on the extreme side, symptoms can be:
- A more intense, burning pain,
- Sharp, stabbing pain more serious if in the tendons,
- Nervy tingling, pain or numbness
And with these kinds of RSIs / ‘Overuse Injuries’ it’s not uncommon to also have pain in your neck, shoulders and upper arms
Agonist Vs Antagonist Muscle Activity
Balancing the muscle activity at any joint will help keep muscles healthy. For PC gamers, extension of the wrist and fingers is the strenuous action therefore, it is important to perform flexion exercises and stretches for the wrists and fingers for balance.
On our injury prevention video, these exercises and stretches are:
Weighted wrist curl
Post-facilitation stretch, wrist flexors
Tip : Remove Mouse Rests And Other Supports And Avoid Contact Points
One of the worst fallacies leading to some of the biggest Ergonomics mistakes is the myth of the need for rests and supports!
There are all KINDS of rests, pads and supports out there and they are all a terrible idea, in my opinion and in the opinion of many experts, including Ergonomic Consultants.
- No Armrests Lower or take them off the chair!
- No wrist contact with wrist pads or so-called wrist supports
- Wrist pads are especially bad in front of the mouse because they put pressure on the wrist and finger tendons right above the Carpal Tunnel: Toss them!
- ABSOLUTELY NO resting on any kind of hard edge or surface especially not the hard edge of a desk or laptop.
Avoid or remove rests, pads and other supports
WHY are rests and supports bad? The problem is twofold:
Because your hands and arms are meant to hang and MOVE from your shoulders!
Its natural/functional biomechanics IE: How your body is meant to move.
Your hands and elbows are not meant to be supported from below,like your hips and knees are supported by your feet and ankles.
Thats not how arms naturally function!
And because any pressure on the surface, as your muscles and tendons are moving back and forth, under the surface tends to cause a drop in circulation and too much friction, leading to adhesion formation.
As adhesions form in your tissues they become more and more restricted and less and less mobile.
Also Check: Off The Shoulder Ruffled Top
Start Reliving Your Mouse Elbow Pain
Mouse elbow is painful, frustrating, and can take over your life in a second. Everything becomes painfultyping, carrying groceries, shaking hands with a new friend. Symptoms can be nagging, and mouse elbow is not an injury that will go away on its own. Take care of yourself by implementing changes to your work space and taking regular breaks to stretch and exercise your muscles. If you’ve already developed mouse elbow, ease the pain with a mouse elbow brace and home therapy. And if the injury doesn’t improve, see your doctor. Mouse elbow may sound strange, but it’s not an injury that anybody wants to deal with. Start improving your work habits now so you can type, point, and click to your heart’s content!
Tip : Take Good Care Of Your Muscles By Stretching Often And Exercising Regularly
Stretching frequently throughout the day especially while working at your computer is one of the simplest ways to relieve muscle tension.
As a general rule of thumb, try to stretch your wrists in both directions for 30 seconds or so per arm Every 20-30 minutes that you’re in front of a computer.
If you’re holding a tablet this is even more critical.
Try to put your iPad/tablet down every every 20-30 minutes and stretch your wrists as well as moving your arms around and rolling your shoulders a few times.
And try to get a little more stretching in in the morning before you start work and after you exercise, which is our next topic:
You’re getting at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day, aren’t you?
30 minutes of vigorous exercise each day is essential for not just your heart health and overall well being, but also for the circulation to your extremities.
If you’re not getting enough cardio exercise, increasing that should help with your Mouse Elbow or computer-related pain.
Full body exercise that involves your arms, like swimming, running or simply brisk walking or hiking will probably be a lot more beneficial for you than biking.
Biking, whether road, mountain or stationary, unfortunately involves too much static gripping of the handlebars and too little upper-body movement to be helpful when you have a wrist or elbow problem.
Because of all that static holding it’s more likely to do more harm than good.
But I have to say,
Also Check: Best Elbow Wraps For Lifting
Address The Problem: Get Yourself An Ergonomic Vertical Mouse And Keyboard
Mouse 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 dont 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.
- 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.
What to look for inErgonomic mice and keyboards
Get Rid Of Elbow Pain With Help From Airrosti
Airrosti providers aim to uncover the root cause of pain and treat injuries at the source by combining myofascial release with at-home active care exercises for strength and mobility. This targeted treatment plan leads to efficient, long-term injury resolution in as few as three visits .
Schedule an appointment with Airrosti today and return to your workspace pain free. We offer in-office and virtual visits to best suit your needs.
Read our Medical Disclaimer here.
Also Check: Small Itchy Bumps On Wrist
What Happens If The Pain In My Elbow Doesn’t Improve
Whilst tennis/computer elbow is a painful condition that can interfere with many aspects of daily life, it is widely accepted to be self-limiting, that is it doesnt progressively deteriorate to the extent that it becomes disabling. For most people, it lasts around six months and on the assumption that symptoms can be self-managed with simple measures, this is the best course of action to take whilst the problem naturally resolves. The pain eventually settles and life returns to normal without any lasting effects. It is rare for tennis/computer elbow to return in the same arm once it has resolved.
If symptoms are severe and fail to improve after six weeks, it is worthwhile seeking the advice of a doctor or physiotherapist. They will ask questions and examine the elbow to exclude other potential causes of elbow pain. In some cases, an X-ray or scan can help confirm the diagnosis, although in most cases this is unnecessary. A physiotherapist can give advice on exercises and other forms of self-management. They can also arrange a referral to a specialist if required.
Mouse Elbow: Elbow Pain From Working At A Desk
by Moyer Total WellnessDec 23, 2019
If you thought that as a desk devotee you would only have to deal with neck pain, upper back pain, low back pain, and headaches then its time to meet Mouse Elbow.
Before you reach to call the exterminator, Ill let you in on a little secret: its the same thing as tennis elbow, but without all the running and grunting. Theres usually pain and/or tenderness in the tissues around the top of the elbow and pain when playing tennis, typing at a computer, or during any activity that especially loads up the forearm extensors .
Recommended Reading: Shoulder Pain Radiating To Bicep
What Causes Tennis Elbow
Tennis Elbow is an overuse injury. It is caused by repetitive use of the forearm muscles. The repeated contraction of the muscles and stress to the tissue result in a series of small tears in the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the bone at the outside of your elbow. One of the most common cause for Tennis Elbow is repetitive use of a computer mouse. Using a computer mouse for long periods can result in the development of tennis elbow due to the overuse of muscles to grip the mouse and move the mouse.
Stretches To Help Relieve Mouse Elbow
Stretching can help reduce the inflammation in your tendons and muscles and relieve pain via blood flow. Stretching is great for quick relief to get you back to work. When your pain flares, stop what you’re doing and try these stretches.
Make a fist with your thumb straight, not tucked under your fingers. Slowly slide your fingertips up your palm, toward the base of your fingers, and away from your palm so that your hand is in a claw-like position. You should feel a stretch from your palm all the way to your fingertips. Hold ten seconds, and repeat 3-5 times.
Forearm Extensor Stretch
Sit and stretch your arm out in front of you, with the elbow straight and palm facing downward. Use your opposite hand to bend the wrist and push the hand further down toward the floor. Hold for ten seconds and repeat up to 10 times.
Wrist Rotation Stretch
With your hand extended and palm facing down, rotate your wrist away from the body until you feel a stretch. Hold it for ten seconds. Next, rotate your hand to the inside instead, attempting to turn your palm up toward the ceiling while keeping your elbow steady. Repeat 3-5 times. This stretch will loosen up your wrist and forearm and get you ready to type.
For more details on stretching the lateral forearm, see our in depth list of tennis elbow stretches. Tennis elbow and mouse elbow both lead to inflammation of the lateral epicondylitis, meaning the most beneficial stretches for the elbow are practically the same for each.
Also Check: How Do I Know If I Fractured My Wrist
Use These Ten Ergonomic Muscle Health And Self
Do you have pain in your elbow, wrist or hand due to your computer, tablet or phone use?…
You may have Mouse Elbow, Computer Elbow or Computer Wrist Is there REALLY such a thing? Absolutely
And regardless whether you’re just starting to feel discomfort OR have been in pain for months or longer, this resource will help you take the right steps toward:
- Breaking the vicious cycle of muscle tension + imbalance that’s causing you pain,
- Recovering fully if you’re injured or at risk of injury, AND
- Preventing your injury from recurring
Here are the 3 essential areas you need to address as a computer pain sufferer You’ll get 3 key tips in each area + 1 powerful extra at the end, for a total of 10.
What Can I Do To Relieve The Pain
There are certain steps you can take to help relieve yourself of computer elbow or any other elbow pain caused by repetitive activity.
- Avoid or reduce the activity causing that caused the pain. This should be your first priority and you should also avoid or reduce any activities that cause the pain or make it worse.
- Try taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. A short course of anti-inflammatory tablets available from supermarkets and pharmacies such as ibuprofen often help the pain.
- Keep the elbow moving to avoid stiffness. Stretching exercises can be useful: hold the arm straight, with the palm facing to the floor and slowly bend the wrist downwards using the other hand to gently pull it towards the body and hold for fifteen seconds. This can be repeated four to six times a day.
- Massaging the painful area can often give significant relief. Start just above the painful area on the outside of the elbow, and using the index and middle fingers of the opposite hand, with firm pressure rub in a side to side motion working over the painful area gradually moving towards the hand. This can be repeated four to six times a day.
- Try wearing an elbow clasp or brace helpful. Some patients find this helpful. These are available from pharmacies or via the internet and cost between £10 and £20. They apply gentle pressure to the muscles just below the tendon and may reduce the strain on the tennis elbow area during repetitive or strenuous movements.
Also Check: Golfers Elbow Vs Tennis Elbow
Tip : Get A Narrow Keyboard And Bring That Mouse In Closer
I’m a big advocate of the keyboard tray, but the most important Ergonomic tactical change I ever made was to toss the regular keyboard and switch to a narrow one.
This could easily be the simplest adjustment and cheapest hack you could make
A narrow keyboard allows the mouse to be in a much more ergonomic position, closer to the keyboard.
WORKAROUND: If you do a lot of number crunching / data entry, just get a separate, detached number pad to use for those specific tasks, and then move it aside to make room for your mouse the rest of the time.
You are able to bring your mouse in 3-6 inches closer to the ideal alignment with your shoulder which is right in front of it.
Here’s what it looks like if you have a typical, full-sized keyboard with all the extra garbage on the side forcing you to reach out to the side, away from your body and not allowing your arm to simply hang from your shoulder, naturally:
The typical “wide” keyboard forces you to reach out to the side to use your mouse
Place Your Digital Accessories Closer
Excessive use of mouse and keyboard are amongst the common causes of computer elbow. You can avoid this fate by ensuring that you do not strain too much when you use these devices.
Place your mouse at your side, preferably next to your hand. If its too far away or placed at a height, you will overextend your forearm when you try and reach out for it. Repeating this action numerous times can increase the risk of elbow injury.
Apart from this, your mouse should not be too small or big for your hands. Get a size that fits your hand without placing strain on your fingers and wrist muscles. Otherwise, your hand will remain tensed when your grip your mouse. Subsequently, this position affects your elbow muscles and tendons too.The main idea is to keep your hand and forearm relaxed when you use your computer.
Keyboard placement is equally important in this situation. Place it directly in front of you, so your wrists extend in a straight line when you type. Buy a split keyboard to distribute the pressure placed on extended wrists and arms. Moreover, make sure your wrists and fingers are not curled or bent when you type. If you want more access, move your chair or lower the back of the keyboard instead of raising it. Using a clamp-on adjustable keyboard tray can also help with placement.
Additionally, you can squeeze a tennis ball 20-25 times to strengthen your hand muscles.
Don’t Miss: Physical Therapy For Hand And Wrist
Treating Your Elbow Pain
Unfortunately there isnt a quick fix for tennis elbow or golfers elbow the tendons involved will usually need two months of recovery. See your Doctor or Physiotherapist to confirm the diagnosis and get appropriate recommendations for treatment. These exercises below may help you while youre waiting to see them.
Note: Tendons need exercise to recover which will incur pain. DONT push through the pain regardless however as this can make matters worse. You need to exercise to a point where you feel pain and some fatigue from doing it for 5-15 minutes afterwards but not to the degree that you feel it for the rest of the day.