Introduction: This page seeks to explain the definition of epicondylitis, which is more commonly known i.e. tennis or golfer's elbow, its symptoms and how it is caused. And also learn how to prevent this musculoskeletal disorder.


  1. What is Epicondylitis?

  2. How is it caused in the office?

  3. Symptoms

  4. How to prevent - Prevention Methods

What is Epicondylitis?

It is the inflammation of the tendon located at the bony origin of the inside (wrist extensor muscles) and outside (wrist flexor muscles) edge of the elbow.

They are further classified into

  1. lateral epicondylitis aka tennis elbow (pain in outside edge of elbow). The damage is specific to the tendons of the muscles that straighten the fingers, pull the wrist back, and turn the palm up.

  2. medial epicondylitis aka golfer's elbow (pain in the inside edge of the elbow). The damage is specific to the tendons of the muscles that close the fingers, bend the wrist forward, and turn the palm down.

golfer's and tennis elbow

How is it caused in the office?

  1. Reaching forward for the mouse onto a desk that is higher than the keyboard.

  2. Reaching for the mouse placed to the far side of the keyboard.

  3. Gripping the mouse tightly while using wrist motion to activate.

  4. Planting the wrist down and swiveling the mouse using wrist motion.

  5. Reaching frequently for the phone or to take heavy manuals or binders down from high shelves.

  6. Pulling thick files out of densely packed cabinets or drawers.

  7. Tennis elbow is caused by repetitive wrist extension (bending back) resulting in a strain of the associated muscles

  8. Golfer's elbow is caused by repetitive wrist flexion (bending downwards) resulting in the strain of the associated muscles

Symptoms of Epicondylitis

  1. Tenderness at the sides of the elbow over the bony points.

  2. Localized swelling at the point of tenderness.

  3. Pain may radiate from the elbow down the forearm and into the upper arm in more severe cases.

  4. Increased pain in when.

  5. i. gripping objects with the wrist bent backwards - Tennis elbow

  6. ii. gripping objects with the wrist bent forward - Golfer's elbow

How to prevent Epicondylitis?

  • Avoid repetitive and strong gripping, especially with the elbow straight. (for example, move the heavy manuals and binders down off the high shelves of the computer desk).

  • Place frequently used objects within easy reach (between eye and hip level and within an easy arm's reach to prevent excessive stretch)

  • Treatment

    1. Rest the affected area and use an elbow support brace in the office

    2. Taking anti-inflammatory drugs

    3. Autologous blood injection to stimulate healing

    4. Ultrasound or low-level laser therapy to help reduce pain and inflammation as well as stimulate healing.

    5. Surgery to release the muscle origins to relieve the strain

    Reference:http://www.bellaonline.net/articles/art55262.asp and http://bodiesrebuilt.com/Conditions.html

    Thank you for reading this page!

    Go back to Musculoskeletal Disorders.

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