Mouse elbow is the degeneration and inflammation of the tendons on the outside of the elbow. Some people suffer from this condition due to frequent use of computers. It is caused by repetitive stressing of the forearm such as point-and-click movement from moving a computer mouse. It is characterized by pain over the outer area of the elbow and other areas of elbow and forearm. With excessive stress, the tendons and muscles become painful even at rest and result to a weakened hand grip.
Mouse elbow is an occupational hazard especially with people using computers for long periods of time. The muscles in the forearm contract when the hand is constantly gripping and shifting the computer mouse and both hands are repetitively typing on the keyboard.
Causes of mouse elbow
- Typing and computer mouse use
- Playing sports such as tennis, racquetball and weightlifting
- Chopping vegetables
- Pain when using the mouse or keyboard
- A dull ache along the forearm
- A sharp pain at the back of the elbow
- Pain when shaking hands or turning a doorknob
- Take plenty of rest especially the affected area.
- Apply an ice pack on the affected elbow at least 20 minutes to lessen the pain and inflammation at 2-3 times every day.
- Massage the affected area using the thumb or knuckles. Press the fingers on the muscles and rub using circular movements. Another alternative is combining cold therapy with massage.
- Take the prescribed anti-inflammatory pain medications such as ibuprofen for a few days to lessen the pain and inflammation.
- Use the prescribed mouse elbow brace when performing activities such as typing to lessen the pain caused by mouse elbow. The strap or brace puts pressure on the extensor muscles in the forearm and lessens the tension on the area.
- Organize the work station to minimize overreaching movements to lessen the load placed on the muscles of the forearm and upper limbs.
- Use the arm, not the wrist in moving the mouse
- Move or take a walk at least once every 30-60 minutes of continuous work in stationary postures.
- Perform regular physical activity at least 150 minutes every week.