Laptop Elbow

In my work and play, I have always, always, always used a desktop PC. With my fancy new accounting job, I am provided with a laptop with the little touch pad mouse and two buttons centrally located beneath the keyboard. I do a lot more scrolling around looking at and for things than I do actually typing.

My elbow has started to be sore as a son of a bitch in the last month or so. I would have thought it would have been my wrist, but it is the outside of my right elbow.

Happen to anyone else?

Get a USB docking station with a real mouse, keyboard, and monitor!

At my job we don’t have desktop PCs, just laptops and docking stations. I have a 21" CRT with a 2-buton Dell optical USB mouse and a Microsoft split keyboard.

Works pretty well.

Not per se, but I’ve had similiar soreness from bad typing habits. The muscles that move your wrist are basically all in your forearm, connecting to such places as the outside of your elbow. Let me guess, you keep your elbows outside the laptop, and cant your hands outwards so the fingers point towards the screen? When you do that motion, do you feel it where you’re sore? Is this motion exacerbated because the touch pad is closer to you than the keys?

If so, a few suggestions based on what helped me:

  1. Keep your laptop further away, so you can keep your elbows in and hands straight. Keeps the screen from being too close too.
  2. Use your index finger on the touch pad, and middle/ring fingers for the buttons. This should be more accurate and let you keep your hand straight.
  3. Use a real Mouse. You’ve got USB ports, use them! I like the Evoluent Vertical Mouse.
  4. There may be other bent wrist actions that exacerbate this. For me it was snapping my wrist to reach the enter and shift keys, instead of shifting my hand.
  5. If it persists, light exercise can help. I like the PowerBall.

A similar thing happened to me when I started using a laptop without an attached mouse and keyboard for serious work.

Forget the touch pad and laptop keyboard when you are at your desk. Get a real keyboard and mouse, something you are comfortable with. I’d also reccomend something like one of these.

Those laptop touchpads are the fucking Devil. What was wrong with those little rubber eraserhead thingies they used to put in the middle of the keyboard? I loved those.

a doc actually diagnosed me with “mouse elbow” a couple years ago when I DOOM 3 came out and I was binge gaming. I had to stop playing computer games, and took VIOXX daily until the pain started going away.

Buy your own USB mouse.

Bah, the old “take some drugs and stop doing it” cop-out. If you do end up going to see a doctor, see a sports therapist or sports doctor, not a general practitioner. Some injuries are best healed this way, but many heal better with light exercise or simply using better technique, and I’ve seen many general practioners who couldn’t tell the difference. With “mouse elbow” taking some meds may keep the swelling down and help you heal faster, but it in no way addresses the root of the problem.

You are pretty much dead on, on all counts. I will try out some or all of these suggestions.

The docking station would be good at the office, but I am in the office maybe one day out of 10. Most likely I am in some cramped space with one or two other auditors at a client’s office. I will definitely be switching to some sort of USB mouse.

Funny thing is, for the last few weeks I thought it was from sleeping with my right arm folded up under my pillow every night. What a goofball.

Thanks all for the replies. Nothing better than Qt3 for medical advice. :)

Logitech marblemouse. $20, fits in a laptop bag. Smoothest rolling trackball ever. Also, doesn’t require any space like a mouse does to move it around.