Repetitive Strain Injury

Overview of Repetitive Strain Injury

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is associated with repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, awkward positions for a prolonged time duration, and mechanical compression. RSI can almost affect all movable parts of the body.  

Pains felt in Muscles, tendons, and nerves due to repetitive tasks are covered in RSI

High-Risk Areas

RSI usually affects areas of the upper body. The high-risk areas include: 


  • Wrists and hands 
  • Forearms and elbows 
  • Neck and shoulders

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Signs and Symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injury

The symptoms of RSI can be mild or severe depending upon your condition. Usually, the symptoms develop over time. The symptoms of RSI include: 

  • Stiffness in joints 
  • Throbbing/ dull pain in a certain area of the body 
  • Weakness in body 
  • Cramps in the affected area
  • Pain and tenderness 
  • A tingling feeling 

Without treatment or care, the symptoms may worsen over time and can cause long-term damage to muscles. You may also see swelling in the affected area.

Types of Repetitive Strain Injury

On a wider prospect, RSI can be categorized into two types: 


This is a musculoskeletal disorder and usually causes swelling and inflammation of certain muscles and tendons. 


This type of RSI causes damage to nerves and usually results from work activities. 

Examples of Repetitive Strain Injuries

Repetitive Strain Injury is pretty common and is caused by multiple factors. Some of the most common RSIs are: 

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - This causes pain in the wrist and occurs due to the painful compression of nerves at the front of the wrist. This happens due to the excessive usage of computers. This is one of the RSI wrist pain conditions.
  • Trigger Finger - This is an RSI hand pain condition in which a tendon that runs along the finger gets swollen. 
  • Bursitis - The bursitis happens near a knee, elbow, or shoulder joint. A fluid-filled sack is formed which causes inflammation and swelling. 
  • Tendonitis - The tendons in the body get inflamed in tendonitis
  • Writer’s Cramp - Muscle cramps occur in hands and arms due to overuse.
  • Tennis Elbow - In the tennis elbow the outer part of the elbow gets affected by this type of RSI.

Causes of Repetitive Strain Injury

Repetitive Strain Injuries are caused by doing a repetitive task or overusing a muscle/tendon. The following things can increase the risk of RSIs:

  • Repetitive tasks 
  • Poor body posture or sitting/working in an awkward position 
  • Doing a high-intensity workout without any warmup or rest

 RSIs are pretty common and may be caused by many activities:

  • Using the computer too frequently 
  • Typing for a longer duration of times 
  • Swiping items at a checkout 
  • Working in an assembly line 
  • Athlete
  • Using tools
  • The direct pressure on certain areas 
  • Working in colder temperatures 
  • Carrying heavy loads 
  • Vibrating equipment

Fatigue and psychological stress also adversely affect RSI. 


Risk Factors of Repetitive Strain Injury



If your work involves doing repetitive tasks, it might be a little difficult for you to prevent RSI. However, being extra careful can help you in even unavoidable circumstances. 

Some activities that can you incorporate into your daily work routine are:

  • Taking small breaks -  taking small breaks from repetitive tasks can help the muscles to heal and relax 
  • Eye break  - taking your eyes off the screen can help the eye muscles relax
  • Exercise - generally taking care of your health, doing enough physical activity, and consuming a healthy diet will help the body have enough nutrients.
  • Posture - be mindful of your posture. Don slouch or sit at awkward angles. 

By following these tips, you may be able to avoid rsi hand pains, rsi wrist pains, rsi elbow pains, and rsi thumb pains. 



You should immediately consult your healthcare provider if you think you are having some symptoms of RSI. RSI is generally diagnosed through a series of physical examinations and tests. The doctor will also ask about your daily routine or any repetitive tasks that you do.

Treatment of Repetitive Strain Injury | When to Consult a Doctor

The causes and types of RSI are so varied which leads to multiple treatment options for RSI. The most commonly applied treatments include: 

  • Medication 
  • Applying hot/cold packs 
  • Using elastic support or splints 
  • Physical therapy 

In more severe cases, where RSIs are paired with some other underlying medical condition, steroids or even surgery can be done. Some relaxing therapies like Yoga, Acupuncture and the Alexander Technique can also help you relieve the pain. 

In case you exhibit any concerning signs and symptoms for rsi, consult a medical professional or chiropractor as soon as possible.