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Repetitive Strain Injury: Are You at Risk?

As its name implies, a repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a result of prolonged, repetitive, and forceful movement. Such movements tend to be seemingly harmless at first — typing on a keyboard, clicking a mouse button, hand movements by assembly line workers — but become increasingly harmful as the same movements are repeated over and over, day after day.

RSI causes damage (also known as micro tears) to the muscles, tendons, and nerves of the body part involved. The most commonly affected parts include the fingers, wrists, and forearms. It should be noted that RSI is not a specific medical disorder but rather a collective term of conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, and tendonitis.

Common signs and symptoms of RSI

The following symptoms are common among RSI conditions:

  • Numbness and tingling sensations
  • Weakness
  • Loss of grip strength
  • Sharp pain
  • Restricted mobility in the affected joints, tendons, and muscles

Are you at risk?

There are three basic components that increase your risk for repetitive strain injury: poor posture, poor technique, and overuse. The following factors can further put you at risk for RSI:

  • Your job requires heavy computer use all day
  • Infrequent breaks
  • Lack of exercise
  • A stressful work environment
  • Long fingernails (These put the fingers in an unnatural position, consequently putting stress on your fingers.)
  • Chronic lack of sleep
  • Overweight or obese
  • Poor ergonomics
  • Existing health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, thyroid disorders, or any condition that involves swelling

A visit to the Plancher Orthopedics office will include an assessment of your risk for RSI and a discussion of steps you can take to prevent RSI from happening in the first place. Call us at 212.876.5200 to schedule an appointment today!