Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Medial epicondylitis or Snow-shoveler's elbow
I'm told that I hold a snow shovel wrong. Who's to say really what's right or wrong when it comes to wielding a snow shovel? My spouse claims the proper way is to grip the snow shovel with the left hand by grabbing it fingers down. That, unfortunately, requires that you have a brachioradialis muscle on the top of your forearm with which you can both grip and lift pounds and pounds of snow. I was not issued one of those muscles.
So what's a spaghetti-armed doctor to do? Exactly what my mush-armed patient did--grab the shovel handle in an underhanded sort of way, which brings the trusty biceps into play along with the pronator teres, flexor carpi radialis, and palmaris longus muscles on the palmar side of your forearm. After moving mountains of snow, these overused muscles which attach on the inner aspect of the elbow, start screaming with pain. This is known as medial epicondylitis, golfer's elbow, or, for all of us who weathered this difficult winter season, Snow-shoveler's elbow.
Those scoopers who favor the overhand shovel technique, however, would overuse the brachioradialis muscle causing pain at its tendinous insertion on the outer aspect of the elbow. This is known as tennis elbow, or Snow shoveler's elbow.
I assured my patient today that the orange crocuses were in bloom in my garden, and the end of the snow surely cannot be far behind. Tendinitis starts to heal when the patient stops bothering the tendon. While extraordinary repetitive motion creates tendinitis, ordinary daily activities like lifting kids, books, grocery bags, and suitcases can perpetuate the problem.