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Common work-related elbow injuries and how to avoid them

Elbow injuries in Minnesota can make it very difficult to perform one's job duties. Work-related injuries, often chronic in nature, can negatively affect the elbow. Fortunately, however, there are steps a worker can take to prevent elbow injuries and maintain productivity. It may be helpful to identify some of the most common elbow injuries and understand why they occur.

According to the University of Michigan, several conditions fall under the wider umbrella of tendinosis, which results from micro-tearing of connective tissue either in the tendon itself or surrounding it. Two common types of tendinosis include medial epicondylitis and lateral epicondylitis. Each occurs just above the elbow, but medial epicondylitis affects the inner side of the elbow while lateral epicondylitis affects the outer side. These conditions commonly go by the names golfer's elbow and tennis elbow, respectively, but they can also result from repetitive work activities and lifting heavy objects. 

WebMD advises that prolonged pressure on the elbow, such as leaning it on a desk or other hard surface, can cause a painful condition of swelling in the joint called bursitis. The swelling and pain of elbow bursitis can also limit the joint's range of motion. 

It may not be possible to completely avoid the activities that lead to elbow injuries in the workplace. However, workers can decrease their risks of injury by taking breaks. This may mean a micro-break to do some stretching or it may mean walking around a bit every 20 minutes. It can also help to use different muscle groups by rotating tasks whenever possible. Finally, one can reduce the strain on one's body by adjusting one's workstation so that it fits the body better according to the principles of ergonomics.

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