Dog-walkers’ elbow. Yes, it’s a thing, and it can be serious

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Dog-walkers’ elbow. Yes, it’s a thing, and it can be serious

Struggling to control an enthusiastic pet can lead to repetitive strain injuries – and much worse

Debora Robertson

Owning a dog may be the key to a longer life, according to a new study. Our canine companions certainly increase our physical and emotional wellbeing – that’s if they don’t trip us down the stairs, dislocate our wrists or yank our arms out of their sockets first.

Sometimes love hurts, and DRIs (dog-related injuries) are on the rise.

Among the most painful of these is dog-walker’s elbow (or wrist, or shoulder), a repetitive strain injury similar to tennis elbow, caused by a pulling dog. Nick Ferran, consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon at The Lister Hospital in London, says: “Dog walker’s elbow is an unofficial name given to epicondylitis (https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/tennis-elbow-lateral-epicondylitis/) of the elbow. It was first described in 1981 by an American doctor who noticed the symptoms when walking his dog. The cause is thought to be from overloading the tendon attachments at the elbow from persistent repetitive gripping to control the leash.”..

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