Elbow problems include epicondylitis, strains, sprains, fractures, bursitis, and ulnar nerve irritation. Epicondylitis is an inflammation of the tendon and may involve the medial or lateral elbow. "Tennis elbow" is lateral epicondylitis. Causes of epicondylitis and strains include over use, repetitive use, awkward postures with activities, and repetitive gripping of objects too tightly. Sports such as tennis and golf can cause epicondylitis. Ulnar nerve irritation may result from bumping the elbow or leaning on the elbow. Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa (fluid filled sac) and may result from a sharp blow to the elbow. Falls may result in sprains and fractures.


May include pain, swelling, diminished range of motion, localized heat or redness, weakness, and numbness or tingling of the forearm and fingers.


Elbow pain or injuries that have resulted from work activities such as repetitive heavy or awkward use of the arm or contusions or falls that occurred at work need to be evaluated by employee health. Suspected fractures require emergent evaluation. If the employee has elbow pain but is uncertain what is causing it, he/she should have an evaluation by his/her personal physician. If the employee uses a computer at work, he/she should make sure it is set up to fit his or herself. This can be checked by reviewing the Computer Workstation Self Evaluation. These are given to each new employee who does computer work during his/her physical at employee health. If after reviewing the checklist the employee still has questions, he/she should call the Workers' Compensation unit and arrange for a workstation evaluation. While awaiting medical evaluation the employee may take an over-the-counter agent such as Tylenol or Advil if he/she has no allergic or medical conditions associated with taking these agents.

-Also- Ergonomics Link

Work status

If the condition is not occupational, the employee's personal physician is responsible for determining if the employee needs any work restrictions. If employee health is treating the employee, the employee health treater will make this determination.

Developed by Employee Health Services