An elbow rest is an arm pad made to attach under a desk top. It takes the strain off of the elbow to help prevent injury. Elbow rests are sold in many computer and office supply stores in the workplace ergonomics accessories section. They are considered as keyboard accessories as well and many support the wrist as well as the elbow.
Some types of elbow rests consist of an open frame structure to hold in the arm. These support stand types of rests have a cupped area for the elbow. Other styles consist of a padded cradle type of piece to hold up the arm and elbow. The wrist rests on the edge of the desk so the fingers are free to access a computer keyboard or mouse.
An elbow rest may be filled with a gel material to offer firm, yet supple support. Some of these gel rests are square in shape, while others are rectangular to fit both the elbow and wrist. Many gel elbow rests feature a rubber backing and a padded, washable cover.
Computer access elbow rests are usually interchangeable for the right or left arm. Typically, elbow strain develops only in one arm at a time. Repeated movements that strain joints are the most common causes of elbow problems. Tennis elbow is a common condition that is not only caused by sports, but by repetitive movement such as raising a telephone up to the ear many times during the day.
Elbow rests are thought to help workers who stand as well as sit. An elbow rest can relieve shoulder and spinal pressure by distributing some of the body’s weight on the arms. Padded arm pieces that fit onto the ends of desk chair arms are a type of elbow rest sold in pairs. They are often black in color and slightly indented to cushion the elbows and arms.
Some types of elbow rests are built into work chairs. For example, the saddle style of rolling chair has a seat divided in the center with each side shaped and sloped like half of a horse saddle. The base is usually made of metal spokes with five wheels. One metal spoke extends up from the seat and has a curved, padded bar attached to it. This curved bar is designed for laboratory workers, dental assistants, craftspeople and others to rest their elbows on while working.