Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Elbow & Repetitive Strain Injuries

Next in the series - the elbow ...

"Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) from computer use or desk work can cause headaches, eyestrain, and pain through the neck, shoulders, arms and back. "The Elbow" is part of a series that takes a closer look at the mechanism of injury and specific injury prevention techniques for particular pain areas.

Unlike the shoulder, the elbow joint has a tremendous amount of bony stability. The lower end of the long bone of the upper arm (the humerus) meets the two long forearm bones (the radius and the ulna) at the elbow. The majority of the muscles that bend the wrist and the fingers attach to the inner portion of the elbow. The majority of the muscles that straighten the wrist and the fingers attach to the outer portion of the elbow.

The neutral position of the elbow, with the arm relaxed at the side of the body, is with the thumb facing forward and the palm facing toward the body. With the elbow bent, this neutral position is the “handshake” position.

Factors that Contribute to Elbow Pain

• Repetitive wrist movement, especially with the forearm fully rotated palm-up or palm-down, repetitive rotation of the forearm, and repetitive elbow bending and straightening can all contribute to inflammation of the tendons as they insert into the elbow.

• Bony and ligamentous grooves and tunnels near the elbow through which the three main nerves that provide power and sensation to the hand pass. The shearing motion or compression of the tendon and nerves as they pass through these tight areas can contribute to repetitive strain injuries.

• The degree of the elbow carrying angle (the angle of deviation of the forearm bones in relationship to the upper arm bone when the arm is held at the side with the palm facing forward).

• Maneuvering the arms around a larger upper body when placing the hands on the keyboard is also a factor."    (Continued via BellaOnline, Marji Hajic)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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