Working with tennis elbow

What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow, also known as epicondylitis, is a painful condition that affects the elbow. It is a form of tendonitis that occurs when the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the elbow bone are inflamed or irritated.

Tennis elbow usually involves pain on the outside of the elbow that can extend to the forearm and wrist. Pain is often exacerbated by repetitive arm and hand movements, such as those used in tennis—hence the name tennis elbow.


Causes of tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is often caused by overuse or overstretching of the forearm muscles that attach to the epicondyles. These are the bony protrusions at the end of the humerus, near the elbow. Repetitive hand and wrist movements can cause microtrauma to the tendons, leading to inflammation and pain.


Other factors that may cause tennis elbow include:

  • Work activities that involve repetitive hand and wrist movements such as carpentry or computer use
  • Traumatic injuries to the elbow or wrist
  • Poor movement technique when performing repetitive tasks
  • Lack of forearm muscle strength or flexibility
  • Poor posture or posture disorders
  • Underlying health problems such as arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis


Who can suffer from tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow can occur in people of all ages and activity levels, not just athletes. That said, certain people are more at risk than others.


Here are some factors that can increase the risk of developing tennis elbow:

  • Regular participation in sports that involve repetitive hand and wrist movements such as tennis, golf, baseball or weight lifting
  • A job that involves repetitive hand and wrist movements, such as carpentry, mechanics, hairdressing, sewing or office work with long hours at a computer
  • Poor movement technique when performing repetitive tasks
  • Weak forearm muscles or limited flexibility
  • Underlying posture or health problems such as arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Traumatic injury to the elbow or wrist

Symptoms of tennis elbow

Tennis elbow symptoms may develop suddenly or gradually. In some cases, symptoms can be so severe that they prevent a person from performing normal daily activities.

Symptoms take the form of weakness in the forearm, including:

Pain on the outside of the elbow, possibly extending to the forearm and wrist

Pain that worsens when grasping or lifting heavy objects

Pain that worsens when bending or stretching the wrist or forearm

Pain that worsens when rotating the forearm

Solutions if you have tennis elbow

A healthcare professional may recommend wearing an orthosis, a device to support the elbow, help relieve pain and promote recovery.

Rest is important to allow the inflammation to subside and the tissue to heal. Avoid activities that aggravate the pain for a few days to a few weeks. Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.

Using a compression bandage can help reduce inflammation and support the elbow joint. Make sure the bandage is not too tight to avoid making the pain worse. Once pain and inflammation are reduced, do stretching and strengthening exercises to help restore strength and flexibility to the forearm muscles.

If symptoms do not improve after a few weeks of home care, it’s important to see a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Working when you have tennis elbow

If you do not have surgery on your elbow, your doctor may, in more severe cases, prescribe time off work. Otherwise, your workplace may need to be adapted. A specialist will analyze your current workplace and suggest improvements.


If your elbow hurts when you work

If you experience chronic elbow pain while working, stop the activity that is causing the pain or making it worse. For example, if you are working on a computer and it makes the pain worse, take a break or change your posture.

Change position. If you work with a keyboard and mouse, adjust their position to reduce tension on your elbow. Use a support pad to cushion your arm and reduce the strain on your elbow.

If you work in a professional environment, tell your employer or supervisor about your pain and ask for help to reduce the strain on your elbow.

The benefits of an elbow orthosis when working

An elbow orthosis can relieve pain associated with tennis elbow. It supports the elbow, reduces strain on tendons and promotes healing. There are different types of elbow orthoses, including straps, compression sleeves and hinged orthoses.

Strap orthoses

They are the most common devices for tennis elbow. They are adjustable and wrap around the forearm just below the elbow to help support the damaged tendon.

Sleeve orthoses

They are similar, but they are put on like a sleeve and designed to provide more overall forearm support.

Hinged orthoses

have a hinge that adjusts how you bend and extend your elbow, which can be helpful if you need to continue using your arm while recovering.

Sleeve orthoses to calm tennis elbow

If you have elbow pain, Bauerfeind’s EpiTrain® orthosis will help you find relief and reduce inflammation or stiffness. It is cushioned to provide support and massage the affected area during movement. This improves comfort and strengthens the joint.

The EpiTrain® orthosis is machine washable and requires very little care.

Basically, the EpiTrain® orthosis helps reduce the discomfort caused by tennis elbow in at least four ways:

  • Reduces pain and calms irritation in the arm muscles
  • Strengthens the joint and improves its mobility
  • Helps reduce inflammation and swelling more quickly
  • Provides comfort and is easy to wear, even under clothing

Four benefits of the Bauerfeind EpiTrain® orthosis for workers

Make an appointment with an orthotist today!