Why does my elbow hurt when I work at a desk all day?

Why Does My Elbow Hurt

People who spend most of their day behind a desk are no strangers to elbow pain, and many more workers may be feeling elbow pain right now if they’re still working from home due to the pandemic. 

One French medical survey in 2013 found that approximately 13% of the workers surveyed had an issue that was causing elbow pain. Physical therapists can help workers determine why their elbow hurts. These medical professionals also excel at helping workers find top-notch treatment for elbow pain. 

Why does your elbow hurt? It could be due to one of these three factors

Figuring out why your elbow hurts may not be something you can do on your own. However, physical therapists are trained to diagnose many issues that cause elbow pain. A few of the factors that can lead to painful elbow problems are: 

  1. Resting your elbow on hard surfaces — Office spaces are filled with hard surfaces, such as the tops of desks and even the arms of some chairs. Often, workers may find themselves resting their elbows on a hard surface for hours at a time. 

This action can easily lead to painful elbow issues like cubital tunnel syndrome. Why? There is little soft tissue in your elbows to provide padding between hard surfaces and elbow structures like nerves. 

  1. Poor typing form — Having good typing form means keeping your elbows bent at about a 90-degree angle. Many workers don’t always do this; as a result, they often put more pressure on their elbows the entire time they’re typing. This strain can lead to elbow issues like tennis elbow. 
  1. Not using a vertical mouse — How many times do you move your mouse every day? The odds are good that it’s hundreds or even thousands of times if you’re an office worker. Doing this repetitive work movement can be tough on your elbows. This is especially true if you’re not using a vertical mouse. 


A traditional mouse requires that you turn your hand palm down, which increases the strain on your elbow tendons. Moving the mouse over and over with your arm in this position can irritate these tendons and trigger pain. A vertical mouse is designed to help keep your arm and hand in a position that puts less strain on your elbow. 

Excel PT can help you learn why your elbow hurts and reduce your pain

Keen to learn why your elbow hurts after working at a desk all day? Our Excel Sports & Physical Therapy team is here to help you find out what is causing your work-related elbow pain. We can find the answer by doing a free screening of your elbow. Additionally, our physical therapists are adept at building personalized therapy plans intended to reduce your pain and prevent future work injuries. You’ll even be able to treat your elbow pain from home by signing up for an at-home care or virtual therapy session with our team. 

Contact our team today for more information about how we can help workers with elbow pain or to schedule an initial appointment.