What is Drivers Elbow?
“Driver’s Elbow“, also called “Trucker’s Elbow” by Wikipedia, is formally called “Ulnar Nerve Entrapment” or “Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.” It is a condition involving irritation or inflammation of of the Ulnar Nerve in the elbow that results in pain or numbness. The effected Ulnar Nerve is informally known as “The Funny Bone.” According to our random surveys at truck stops, this pain has been experienced by 56% of truck drivers, many of whom confessed they generally don’t tell their supervisors or medical staff due to fear of having their hours cut. The Driver’s Elbow Pad can help soothe this pain in the 56% of those drivers that have had it, as well as help prevent the pain in the 44% of those drivers that have not yet had this pain, especially since the average truck driver is now 55 years old and legally drives up to 11 hours a day.
One of the primary causes of this condition is when long-distance drivers place their left arm on the thin, hard plastic of the window frame, as it vibrates from vehicle (engine pistons firing thousands of times per minute) and road motion, for hours at a time. While the right arm and elbow often move (to use the CB, change radio stations, sip drinks, adjust radio volume or GPS, reach for snacks, their lap, control the steering wheel, and more) the left arm has limited options between the steering wheel, lap and the window frame. Many trucks don’t even offer left side arm rests on driver seats.
The Ulnar Nerve runs from the neck to the pinky and half of the ring finger, as one of the three primary nerves in the arm. The bent arm position further exposes the Ulnar Nerve, located behind the inside part of the elbow, making it even more vulnerable to irritation.
What generally begins as elbow pain, can evolve into numbness, tingling or contraction of the pinky and ring fingers. Severe cases may require surgery with up to a two-year recovery period. There is a testimonial video of a patient that had this elbow surgery on our Testimonials page of this website. Non-invasive treatments include changing one’s activities (such as not driving with the arm on the window frame) and braces. The Ulnar Nerve is what provides feeling to the pinky and half of the ring finger, controls the fine-motor movements in the hand, as well as bigger muscles in the hand allowing a strong grip, and larger muscles in the forearm.
Now a non-surgical alternative is available for prevention and treatment of this elbow pain: The Driver’s Elbow Pad. It is not FDA approved, and we are not claiming to be a medical device, yet our (and others’) experience demonstrates that it does help prevent and soothe this pain, naturally. Logically, doesn’t it make sense that resting the elbow on a 2” thick, high-density foam pillow, absorbing many of the vibrations of the truck and road, would be more comfortable than “resting” it on thin, hard plastic or metal? Think of it as an elbow pillow. AND IT’S AFFORDABLE! Most importantly, this pad can help prevent the pain from occurring, by comfortably supporting the elbow while reducing the exposure to the shaking of the truck and the road. And as the old saying goes, “Prevention is the best medicine.”
For more details, we found the following article and photo in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons quite informative about “Ulnar Nerve Entrapment at the Elbow (Cubital Tunnel Syndrome)”.
What type of doctor should I see?
As normal, you would want to see your Primary Care Physician. Our experience is that this condition is often treated by chiropractors.
How do I know if I have “drivers elbow” or something else developing?
To explore options of conditions, have it examined by the medical staff of your choice and follow their recommendations. If you want to simply prevent or treat elbow pain, try natural prevention or soothing with the Driver’s Elbow Pad.
What are symptoms of “Driver’s Elbow” or “Trucker’s Elbow”?
This condition typically starts off with pain in the left elbow, can lead to numbness, tingling, or even contracted left pinky and ring finger; severe cases can require surgery with up to a two-year recovery period.
Are there any exercises I should do?
Do any exercises that the medical personnel of your choice recommend. In addition, according to the above article, “…nerve gliding exercises. Some doctors think that exercises to help the ulnar nerve slide through the cubital tunnel at the elbow … can improve symptoms.”
How do you care for Driver’s Elbow?
As the old saying goes, “Prevention is the best medicine,” so preventing the condition initially is the best care, whether than consists of moving your left arm frequently, since it is generally not as active as the right arm (shifting gears, changing radio stations, taking sips of drinks, etc.) yet for those drivers that often drive with their left arm “resting” on the thin, hard window frame, the Driver’s Elbow Pad provides a 2” soft pillow on which to “rest” the elbow or shoulder. Once the condition begins, there are a few non-invasive (non-surgical) treatments, including Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, splinting or bracing, and “nerve gliding exercises” (please see the above article for details).
How long can Driver’s Elbow last?
It is a gradual condition that can take weeks, months or years to develop and also to go away, depending how you treat it. For example, the inventor of the Driver’s Elbow Pad developed the painful condition while driving 2,000 miles in one week during his medical sales career and the pad helped it heal (without surgery) and not return. We have several testimonials on this website from truckers, and a trucker’s wife who’s husband had been tolerating Driver’s Elbow Pain for three years due to the fear of possibly having his hours cut back if he told his supervisor. Under the “Testimonials” tab, there is also a video testimonial from Ross J., who had the elbow surgery after driving mountain roads with his arm on the truck window ledge. He experienced a two-year recovery period, but many are shorter.
Are the pads interchangeable?
Yes, they are, and they come in various colors to blend in with cab interiors (dark grey, light grey, or black) or camouflage or pink with red ribbons (or we can create pad covers with material in your choice of colors) to decorate your cab. They can be purchased separately at our website store, as the frame is made of sturdy ABS plastic that should last even longer.
Can this be used for trucks and cars?
Yes, the Driver’s Elbow Pad was actually invented after the inventor developed “Driver’s Elbow” himself after driving 2,000 miles in one week in his Prius, during his travels as a medical sales rep. After coming up with the idea, he wondered who else could benefit from this protection. Research showed there are 210,000,000 licensed drivers in America, alone. Once he noticed truck drivers driving in the same position as he did, with their left elbow placed on the window frame, he researched the number of truck drivers (3,500,000 in the U.S.) and a possible solution on-line and found nothing that worked well for him. So, he invented the Driver’s Elbow Pad to also help others (car or truck drivers).
What is your Return Policy?
The Driver’s Elbow Pad is guaranteed to fit any vehicle with a driver’s side window that rolls up and down (mechanically or electronically). It does not fit windows that slide back and forth (but this frame is being developed). If the unit does not fit between your window and weather stripping, simply return the unit with its receipt and the year and model of the vehicle that it did not fit (so that we may track and warn other prospects on our website) and we will gladly refund your purchase price and shipping fee. Additionally, except for abuse of the device, we will guarantee the the Driver’s Elbow Pad for 90 days from defects. Beyond that, we truly want to earn your business and will handle situations on a case-by-case basis. We enjoy taking care of people yet don’t want to be taken advantage of, ourselves–let’s be reasonable.
Do you take Custom Orders?
We have two ways to customize the Driver’s Elbow Pad:
1) We can add your logo (up to 1 1/2” square) to the backside of the pad on the cover so that the driver views the logo every time they enter or exit their cab, thus making it a unique, long-lasting award (i.e. safety awards) or gift. As the logo must be digitized (a $50 one-time fee) we recommend this for fleets, groups (i.e. insurance brokers, fundraisers, vehicle clubs, etc.) or for advertising. And
2) We can make special arrangements to make the pad covers from material that you provide (i.e. your favorite sports team, college or color) with a minimum order of twenty. For a custom order price quote, simply email your desired quantity and specific desire to info@DriversElbowPad.com).
Do you support charities?
The founder, Bob Quinlan, is a past-president of a Rotary Club, so fundraising is a major part of his life. We offer your non-profit group the ability to receive $10 (that’s 33 1/3%) of each Driver’s Elbow Pad sold to your group and their supporters at MSRP ($30). Simply contact us to obtain a “non-profit code” for your 501(c)3 to receive a portion of each sale to your group and supporters. Thank you for letting US help YOU help OTHERS!
What are the pads made of?
Pads are made of High Density Foam. The original prototype pads were make of memory foam, which works great on beds and chairs, but did not provide noticeably different support for the relatively small (and light) elbow. At least it did not provide sufficient difference to justify the eight times increase in price (according to early testers).
Why is Driver’s Elbow Pad (DEP) better than competitive products?
We feel (as do early testers) that we have addressed the expressed concerns by prior customers of prior competitors, building a “better mousetrap.” The mass concerns about predecessors, according to truck stop store managers resulted in those products being pulled from their shelves. Expressed improvements include:
- The pad of the Driver’s Elbow Pad is a full two-inches thick, rather than the prior competitor’s ¼ inch thick pad—providing much more protection and comfort for the driver;
- Our unit has longer vertical “fingers” that slide between the window and weather stripping, better keeping the unit in place, even when the window is being rolled up or down;
- The Driver’s Elbow Pad frame is made of ABS plastic, rather than metal, so it does not scratch or rattle against the window while still offering strength, even in extreme weather;
- The pad and cover are removable from the frame for easy washing;
- We can customize the customer’s logo onto each pad cover, making it a long-lasting, unique award or gift to remind drivers that their company truly cares for them;
- The Driver’s Elbow Pad frame is designed with multiple holes in the horizontal shelf to break away (instead of piercing the driver) in case of vehicle impact. *
* As you can see, there are sufficient upgrades over predecessors to make this product of even more interest than items previously available to prevent or soothe left elbow pain. As one Amazon review read, the predecessor was “a good idea poorly executed.” We believe you’ll appreciate the performance of the Driver’s Elbow Pad.
How strong are the pieces?
The ABS plastic frame is sufficiently strong to support the weight of every elbow and arm tested to date. We have had zero reports of any frames breaking. But it does have its limit; as we have molded into each frame: “This device is designed for the assisted support of the driver’s arm only. Do not use as a handle or any other type of support.” It is not meant to support the weight of the driver if they place their hand on the device and push to enter or exit the cab, nor is it intended to be used to open or close the door. (Though drivers have reported it helps prevent accidental door lock—by sliding it over the door lock to prevent locking the door when not driving. ;0)
Will you be at truck stops in the future?
We are working diligently to have the Driver’s Elbow Pad available in truck stop and company stores. Please ask your favorite truck stop (or trucking company) stores to make it available to you and your buddies. When drivers aren’t distracted by elbow pain, they can better focus on their driving, making the roads safer for us all.
Who carries your product?
An ever-expanding list; if it’s not available at your favorite truck stop store, please ask them to reach out to us (at Info@DriversElbowPad.com), with their New Product Placement Manager’s contact information. And you can ALWAYS obtain one here at our website, www.DriversElbowPad.com.
What is your delivery time when ordered from this website?
When ordered from our website store, stock items are generally received in 3-5 days as we ship U.S. Postal Service First Class within the U.S. Custom embroidery work takes a week to create plus shipping time. Custom-made covers take a week from when we receive your material (enough for the minimum order of twenty.)
Thank you for your questions.
“Elbow Bob” Quinlan
Founder, Driver’s Elbow Pad