Health blog

4 types of elbow injuries you could develop at work

December 27th, 2021
Types of Elbow Injuries

The work you do can be hard on your elbows. You might work on an assembly line, or you might work at a desk. In either case, the odds are good that you’re doing things that can lead to many types of elbow injuries. 

Think about how much you move your elbows while at work; it’s a lot, isn’t it? This high amount of movement is one reason why many of the 2.7 million workplace injuries and illnesses that occured in 2020 involved the elbow. Physical therapists can help you learn about and effectively treat multiple types of work-related elbow injuries. 

4 common types of elbow injuries people can develop while at work

You feel pain when extending your elbow to do a work task. Bending it doesn’t feel great either, and twisting your arm is out of the question. Pain when doing such common elbow movements may be the result of one of several types of elbow injuries. These types include: 

  1. Tennis elbow — You may hear or see this condition called by its formal name: lateral epicondylitis. But don’t let its name fool you. Swatting balls around the tennis court isn’t the only way people develop tennis elbow. What’s typically at the root of this injury is repetitive movements that inflame the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow. 

Work movements like moving your mouse and typing can easily trigger such inflammation. This inflammation can result in you feeling pain in your elbow, forearm and wrist. Holding objects may also become harder with this elbow injury.

  1. Golfer’s elbow — This elbow injury isn’t only something that you might pick up on the links. Any work task that pulls on the tendons on the inside of your elbow can cause medial epicondylitis or golfer’s elbow. For instance, lifting objects from a workbench or table to eye level can trigger golfer’s elbow — especially if this movement is done over and over throughout the workday. 

Workers who suffer from golfer’s elbow may develop pain and tenderness on the inside of their elbow. The pain can also radiate into the forearm and hand. The elbow may also be stiffer and harder to move. 

  1. Elbow bursitis — Spend a lot of time with your elbows resting on hard chair arms or desk edges? You could be increasing your risk of olecranon bursitis. This type of bursitis affects the bursa at the point of your elbow. Common symptoms of this condition include pain and swelling at the point of your elbow. Your pain may get worse the more you move or lean on your elbow. 
  1. Cubital tunnel syndrome — The ulnar nerve runs from your neck to your hands. Pinching of this nerve can be a serious problem for workers. The most common place where the ulnar nerve gets pinched is in the elbow where it runs through an elbow structure called the cubital tunnel. That’s why this condition is commonly called cubital tunnel syndrome. Workers who develop this issue typically develop symptoms like numbness or tingling in the ring and pinky fingers. They may also have a weaker grip and decreased finger coordination, and these symptoms can make tasks like lifting objects and typing more difficult. 

Tackle many types of work-related elbow injuries with help from Rehab Access

Seeking medical professionals who can help workers address many types of elbow injuries? You’ll find these professionals at Rehab Access Physical Therapy. Our physical therapists can do free screenings to diagnose your elbow injury. They can also put together a treatment plan for you that’s founded on your specific symptoms, needs and recovery goals. 

Contact our team today for more information on how we can address your elbow injury or to schedule your initial appointment.