Arm tendinitis, arthritis of the elbow....any advice ?

Hi all, I have been struggling lately with two problems:  

#1: tendinitis of my lower right arm and wrist
#2: arthritis of the right elbow. 

The doc believes both are aggravated by overuse of the mouse (actually resting my hand on it an entire work shift, plus the time I spend on line at home). 

The first thing I must do, of course, is unlearn the behavior and remove my hand when I am not actually USING the mouse. 

This hasn't been very successful so far. 

Does anyone have any further suggestion on how to "rest" the arm and still be able to go to work and work a bit at home? 

Anything serious will be considered. 


Picture of Arm tendinitis, arthritis of the elbow....any advice ?
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Jayefuu4 years ago
Could you plug in two mice? One for each hand?

Learning to use a mouse left handed is easier than you'd expect, then you can alternate the hand that you use.

Goodhart (author)  Jayefuu4 years ago
Does that work? I know at home, I don't need to, I can just move the right hand mouse over to the left and use it (when I remember to) and I am fairly good at it already (I still have troubles highlighting from that side but part of it is due to a failing mouse...sticky buttons, etc). I will have to see if that can be arranged at work (we have tons of extra mice lying about there). Thanks.
Kiteman4 years ago
How about changing the device?

Maybe switch to a trackball (Roger-X uses one, with his hand resting in his lap), a drawing tablet, or a pen-style mouse?

In the UK, if the use of a piece of equipment (such as a mouse) is causing, aggravating or even affected by a medical condition or injury, then the employer is under a legal obligation to provide an appropriate alternative.

(For instance, Kitewife has a slightly crooked spine - her employer was obliged to buy a new office chair, footrest and wrist-rest for her in order to prevent any extra damage to her back. She didn't ask for it, her employer organised it themselves.)
+1 for the trackball! I switched to using the Logitech M570. It's wireless so you can put it wherever is comfortable. Sometimes it's on my desk, sometimes on the arm of my chair, sometimes on my lap.
Isn't the spine supposed to be slightly crookedy/curved unlike what chiroquackery insists on straightening out?
Goodhart (author)  caitlinsdad4 years ago
a mild s curve front to back, yes: but not side to side. That is known as Scoliosis. Over-curviture of the back, such as Kyphosis (upper) or Lordosis (lower), can cause problems too.
Exactly. Hers is so minor you can't really tell by looking at her, she just occasionally gets an ache.
Goodhart (author)  Kiteman4 years ago
Yes, sadly such a curvature needs only a bit of irritation (lifting something too heavy or the wrong way) can send the surrounding muscles into convulsions and the nerves can be frantically irritated (especially if any pressure is placed by the spine on the spinal column)
Goodhart (author)  Kiteman4 years ago
Yes, I will have to get the doc to write up something so they can maybe alter something to help the problem.....the bit that "hasn't been very successful so far" has been that I am having difficulties NOT just letting my hand rest on the mouse most of the time. I will see what the employer thinks though. Thanks.
+1 on the trackball.
I use a piece of tempered press board in my lap to run the mouse on , might not be best practice in an office environment but works for me !!
Goodhart (author)  gearhead19514 years ago
I am considering all suggestions, so if I can incorporate something like this and it works, thank you
I had recently been sufffering from the same sort of thing until my GP suggested I actually place my right arm in a sling for a period of 2 weeks. I was amazed at how much I could still do.. i.e. type and make my greeting cards and pretty much everything else. Having the arm confined meant not constantly forcing my arm up to wrist level. Whilst I have not learned to favour my left arm yet, it has helped somewhat with the ache.
Goodhart (author)  dingodudette4 years ago
Yes, that would help. It would be hard to type fast however (part of my job description). But something that makes the mouse "different" as has been suggested here, or in a different position may help along the same lines.
I recently had a similar flare-up in my hands & elbows, especially the labware-lifting elbow rather than the mouse elbow.

My doctor suggested SAM-e supplements and they have really helped. Costco is the cheapest source, but any drugstore or vitamin shop will carry them.

I am moving a lot better, there is 80% less pain, I can lift my dog, and I have been able to catch up on the gardening. If you try it, give it 2 weeks to have an effect.

Good luck.

Re wristbrace: I have used a roller-blading brace to support/correct bad wrist posture before.
Goodhart (author)  CatTrampoline4 years ago
The thing about most braces is they interfere with the typing I must do at work....
I feel your pain my friend. At work I also had issues untill it got to the pointthe pain was going up into my sholder and neck. All from computer over use at home and work. A few things that helped me recover and keep it to a minimum:
1. A cheap bowling wrist brace that helps to support your wrist. There are Rx ones made just for this but for a cheap alt try one.

2. Move the mouse to the left side of the computer. It is starnge at first but after time you will get just as fast with the other hand. And I do notice that personally I don't tend to hold on to it when I don't need to as much with the off hand. Don't know why it just happends.

3. Wrist streches really help alot. Clasp the back of your hand and fold it and hold for a few secs to streach the tendons then bend the other way holding your fingers. This will help over time but hurts like hell when you first start.

4. Drink more water.

5. Take the mouse pad and put it on a clipboard, hold the clipboard on your lap at a more relaxed and natural position. I like to cross my legs and rest it in my lap like when reading a book. Seems to help alot, but your legs can fall asleep if your not carefull.

I went to a Dr when it got to the point I was having trouble getting a shirt on and he gave me the steriod injections. They helped but from that point on I tried the above things and very rarely have much problems any more. When I start to feel it happening again it's usually because I've went back to bad habits. Thats mostly all it is. Change your habits and happy computing. Hope this helps you.
Goodhart (author)  RedneckEngineer4 years ago
Thank you. I actually Have a wrist support made for bowling; I will have to give that a go.

At home I do use the mouse (when I remember to) on the left side, and yes that helps tremendously).

I will have to see what works,  again thank you for all the suggestions.
Someone just posted this today and I thought you might like this if you haven't seen it.

Goodhart (author)  RedneckEngineer4 years ago
That is very similar to the bowling wrist brace I have. I am going to see the doc again tomorrow, and if he thinks I am in need of bracing or a change at work, then we can go from there. Thanks for all your help.
Take an nsaid before work based on what i know of ur med history that shud be fine
Goodhart (author)  FlatLinerMEDIC4 years ago
IF I can also learn not to rest my hand on the mouse, that would probably help the most. A 15 year habit is hard to break :-)
yes....what about a wireless mouse ...idk where your hand can be positioned better??
Goodhart (author)  FlatLinerMEDIC4 years ago
At home, I have to crook my arm to use the mouse, at work, pretty much straighten it. I am not sure which is better. Maybe I should bring and set an Annoy-a-tron for every few minutes to remind me to remove my hand from the mouse :-)
You might find a vertical mouse takes the strain off. See here: http://www.evoluent.com/

Another option is using Dragon voice recognition.

Goodhart (author)  Impoftheyard4 years ago
I will look into that, thank you. The Voice Recognition software however, at "only $199.99" is a bit beyond my means so I will have to seek other ways to relieve the pressure of my muscle mass loss as I age.
It is very expensive. One option which is a bit cheaper is using a cut down version that comes with a voice recorder. I got one with an Olympus voice recorder. I found the one below on a quick search of The US Amazon (I'm in the UK).


Good luck :-)
Goodhart (author)  Impoftheyard4 years ago
I had a cheaper one with my old win98 machine, but it took weeks to train it (I never got finished with training it LOL). *sigh*
caitlinsdad4 years ago
Aren't your computers voice activated? Maybe a trackball mouse would be a good option.
I second the idea of the trackball. If I use a conventional mouse I lean on it much more than I do with the trackball and very soon feel the wrist/arm/shoulder issues reoccurring.
Goodhart (author)  lizzyastro4 years ago
This is pretty much what I thought too.
Goodhart (author)  caitlinsdad4 years ago
The trackball would only work if I "used my left hand", which I can do just as efficiently with the mouse (which isn't very efficient). It is resting my hand and arm in that position I have to stop doing.
Goodhart (author)  caitlinsdad4 years ago
Thankfully, at home when I remember to, I move the mouse toward the center of the desk and use my left hand/arm (most of the time). But I will have to see what they are willing to do at work since some of it is coming from there.
rimar20004 years ago
I stopped having problems with tendonitis when I agreed to eat lettuce more often (more than a time each week). I do not like it, but I eat it just for health.
Goodhart (author)  rimar20004 years ago
Lettuce? Tis mostly water isn't it? I have to increase my spinach intake however, as there is calcium, iron, and vitamin C in it...all good for me (and I LOVE raw spinach).
gmoon4 years ago
My wife was diagnosed with tendonitis on her right hand, just three weeks ago. The doctor instructed her to wear a "thumb splint" whenever possible to partially immobilize her hand.

I'll let you know how it goes. Generally tendonitis goes away if you remove the underlying stress--what you're trying, seems like.

The next recommended (possible) course of treatment would be steroid (cortisone) injections into the joint. We're not there yet...
blkhawk4 years ago
Are you wearing a forearm orthotics?

Goodhart (author)  blkhawk4 years ago
No, so far the doc prescribed a short course of steroids which stabilized it but hasn't rid me of it yet.
After lifting something heavy the wrong way with my left arm I went to therapy under workers compensation. I was given a forearm band that applied light pressure over the area, while at work, and some stretching and exercises. It seems to me that your case is much worse. It sounds that you have a lot of inflammation.
Goodhart (author)  blkhawk4 years ago
Yes, it is a combination (I believe) of "mouse elbow" (tis a recognized condition) and tendinitis.
WWC4 years ago
I will put my 2 cents in. I used to have similar problem as you. Before i used the mouse at the edge of the desk and only my hand was supported. The rest of my arm hung slightly down, Very bad my arm hurt all the time.

Now i support my arm such as in the 2 pictures. It was hard to hold the cam back far enough and take the pic so the pics are only so so.

My arm is at maybe 30 deg down and supported clear from my elbow to wrist. I have no more pain issues.
Goodhart (author)  WWC4 years ago
Thanks. I have two situations: at home I have no rest nor place for one, so I am suspending my arm as you describe at first. At work, where I spend most of my time (most of 8 hours) on a computer with a lot of that time grasping the mouse, I have an arm rest. At home, my arm is bend, and work, straightened (pretty much). I get wrist pain at work, and elbow pain, and the muscular pain (tendinitis) at home. They tend to spill one into the other though.