Epicondylitis


Definition - What does Epicondylitis mean?

Epicondylitis is an inflammation of the epicondyle of a bone. The epicondyle is a small projection at the end of a long bone, above the condyle. Most often, epicondylitis is found in the elbow. Because the repetitive exertion of tennis and golf may trigger the development of epicondylitis, lateral epicondylitis (affecting the outside of the arm) is sometimes called tennis elbow, while medial epicondylitis (affecting the inside of the arm) is referred to as golfer's elbow. Epicondylitis is a common work related injury and worksite procedures and ergonomics programs strive to reduce these injuries.

WorkplaceTesting explains Epicondylitis

The epicondyle sits atop the condyle, which is a rounded knob at the end of a long bone to which tendons and ligaments attach. The condyle often forms a joint with another bone. Epicondylitis is an inflammation that occurs at or around the epicondyle.

Epicondylitis is most often caused by repeated strain of the forearm and can affect either the medial or lateral epicondyle and surrounding muscle and tissue. The point at which muscles connect to the humerus at the elbow is small compared to the relative size and strength of the connecting muscles. As a result, forceful or jerking movements of the arm can sometimes damage or strain the tissues at this connection point.

Twisting the arm or wrist against a resisting force, such as using a screwdriver, can also cause the condition to develop. Improperly positioning the arms when lifting can strain the elbow and result in development of epicondylitis as well. Swinging an axe or wielding other heavy equipment may cause medial epicondylitis.

The pain caused by this condition can sometimes be debilitating. Treatment for epicondylitis should begin as soon as symptoms develop and may require rest and rehabilitation of the injured joint. Bracing and medication may also be required. Proper ergonomic design and work practices can help reduce the risk of workers developing epicondylitis.

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