Repetitive motion injuries


Also known as repetitive strain injury (RSI).

Refers to an injury to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be caused by repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations, mechanical compression, or sustained or awkward positions.

Over time repetitive motions can injure joints, muscles, and tendons.

Repetitive motion injuries account for half of all sports injuries seen by physicians.

These injuries can cause numbness, tingling, and weakness in a hand, arm, leg, or foot, aching, and pulsing pain.

Patients present with intermittent discomfort and then, with a higher degree of frequency.

Conditions attributed to such causes include edema, tendinosis/tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, De Quervain syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, intersection syndrome, medial epicondylitis, tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), trigger finger, radial tunnel syndrome, ulnar tunnel syndrome, and focal dystonia.

Repetitive motion injuries are common in the workplace, from playing a sport, doing housework, or working in a garden.

The most common injuries are tendinitis and bursitis.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is another common repetitive motion injury that affects nerves and tendons in the wrist.

Left untreated, these injuries can lead to permanent disability.

A general increase in cases attributed to the widespread use in the workplace of keyboard entry devices, which require long periods of repetitive motions in a fixed posture.

Workers in certain occupations are at risk of repetitive strains.

Jobs that involves repeated motion patterns or prolonged posture within a work cycle, or both, may be repetitive.

Risk factors include: repetitive strain, and having a condition like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout, being overweight

Repetitive motion injuries are common in the workplace, but they also can come from playing a sport, doing housework, or even working in a garden.

The most common injuries are tendinitis and bursitis.

Carpal tunnel syndrome affects nerves and tendons in the wrist.

Left untreated, these injuries can lead to permanent disability.

Elevated urinary catecholamines have been seen in workers with RSI.

Pain related to RSI may evolve into chronic pain syndrome particularly for workers who do not have supports from co-workers.

The risk of RSI increases with age.

Women are more likely affected than men due to smaller frames, lower muscle mass and strength, and endocrine influences.

Smoking and alcohol consumption are recognizable risk factors for RSI.

Repetitive motion injuries are assessed by objective clinical measures: grip and pinch strength, diagnostic tests such as Finkelstein’s test for De Quervain’s tendinitis, Phalen’s Contortion, Tinel’s Percussion for carpal tunnel syndrome, and nerve conduction velocity tests that show nerve compression in the wrist.

Imaging techniques can show nerve compression such as x-ray for the wrist, and MRI for the thoracic outlet and cervico-brachial areas.

Early diagnosis can limit damage.

Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) used immediately after an injury happens and for the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury can help reduce the swelling and pain.

Medications and treatments that are most-often: include analgesics, myofeedback, biofeedback, physical therapy, relaxation, and ultrasound therapy.

Some RSIs may require more aggressive intervention including surgery.

Symptoms can persist for years.

Exercise has been shown to decrease the risk of developing RSI, as well as specific muscle strengthening exercises.

Modifications of posture and arm use are often recommended.

Treatment may include:

Avoiding or reducing the activity that is causing the injury

Resting the injured body part

Using a splint or brace for support

Pain medications

Surgery to repair the injured joint, muscle, or nerves

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, or other type of rehab program to strengthen the injured body part.

The process is made worse by continuing the same activity that caused the repetitive motion injury will make it worse.

The longer a repetitive injury remains untreated, the more severe it can become.

If treated early, most repetitive motion injuries resolve with rehab and physical therapy.

Carpal tunnel syndrome affects three times more women than men.

People most at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome are those who assemble parts, clean, sew, or work in meat, poultry and fish packing.

Heavy computer work — up to 7 hours a day — does not increase the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.

More than a quarter million surgeries for carpal tunnel syndrome are performed in the U.S. each year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *