Carpal Tunnel or Tennis Elbow after years of computer use?

by Jim
(Los Angeles, CA)

Hello, I am a male of 42 years of age. I'm not sure if I have tendonitis, a start of carpal tunnel, tennis elbow or a combination of all. Here's what I can tell you about myself.

I am a computer operator and have been all my life. I sit in front of a computer many times a day and in the past have typed quite a lot. Nowadays I can't type as much as it is too painful.

What normally occurs is that I type for about 15 minutes and the bottom part of my hand starts to feel pain, also the back of my elbow feels pain and my muscles on my forearm feel soar.

I tend to want to massage them and that seems to help a bit, but not a whole lot. It just makes my arm feel tired and worn out.

Lately I've also been feeling more and more of a numbness turning on as well as the start of a tingling feeling.

The numbness feeling is more felt in the pinky of the hand but not very strong yet. The tingling is not strong, but I do feel it mostly on the bottom of my hand and the top of my hand. Sometimes I scratch my arm from elbow to fingers and that makes the overall arm feel a bit better. It's frustrating as my job forces me to use a keyboard and I am a touch typist, but I know that I can only go for a short bit and have to stop as the pain starts to kick in.

The only other point to mention is that the bottom of my elbow has also felt some pain, but it seems mostly on the top side of the elbow.

Gripping things is totally fine but I'm afraid that if I don't handle this situation, it will result in a more serious condition.

Lastly, in my teen years I would play quite a bit of tennis and my elbow would get soar from time to time. But I was able to bounce back much easier back then.

Thanks very much for your help!


Joshua Answers:

Hi Jim.

I hope you find this, as you didn't leave an email for notification.

So. That's pretty much how the Tendonitis dynamic works.

See: What Is Tendonitis?

You play tennis in your younger years, have years and decades of computer work. You use your muscles, they get tight, they stay tight, connective tissue shrink wraps, things start to have pain and problems.

Do you know that you can have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome AND Tennis Elbow?

It's all the same dynamic ultimately, but depending on where you have it and what exactly is going on, symptoms can vary, and/or be variable.

One thing to look out for is, when doing computer work, do you rest your wrists on the desk? Where your wrist is actually in contact with the desk (or keyboard, depending).

This means that you have -weight- pressing on the contact points of your wrist and desk. You can, directly and indirectly, cause Carpal Tunnel Symptoms.

So, let me know if you see this reply, and we'll go from there.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Apr 13, 2016
Carpal and tennis elbow surgery
by: Anonymous

I'm a 42 year old mail carrier and I have both problems on my right arm. I'm scheduled for surgery in 6 weeks both at the same time..

Wondering if this is a smart or bad idea.. Should I do them separately or just go for it and do them at the same time?.... And how long do you think realistically I would be out of work for ?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymails.

I tend to think that surgery for tendonitis/carpal tunnel isn't a great idea, because it can be reversed pretty easily without surgery.

And, as I like to as, how exactly is surgery going to fix the cause of the problem? (Answer: It doesn't address the causes of the problem.)

Here are some good questions to ask your surgeon: Quiz Your Doctor

As far as surgery recovery times....that just all depends on your scenario and what all the surgeon does while he's cutting around in there.

Sorry, that's not an easy one to answer.

Sep 10, 2010
Wrist Technique for computer
by: Anonymous

Hi Joshua,

I was just curious. What is the right way for Jim to hold his wrists? Is there a reliable diagram, or youtube video on the net for this?

Thank you so much!


Joshua Comments:

While technically there is 'good' ergonomics, my beliefs on how to use the body in 'repetitive' activities is explained here:

New Ergonomics.

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