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Repetitive Strain Injuries

What is Repetitive Strain Injury?

This refers to injuries sustained from repeated use of same movements over a prolonged period, resulting in soft tissue damage. It is more common in the upper limbs (shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand, including the fingers).

Can physiotherapy help people with repetitive strain injuries?

Yes. Physiotherapy is very effective in the treatment of repetitive strain, particularly when you present early for physiotherapy treatment. People with chronic repetitive strain injuries take longer to recover compared to those who start treatment early.

What are the common causes of repetitive strain injuries?

  • Manual labour

  • Office work

  • The use of modern technological devices e.g. computer use

  • Repeated use of the arm for a prolonged period

  • Working with equipment that doesn’t fit your body

  • Working too fast

  • Poor posture or a non-ergonomically designed workstation

  • Not having enough recovery breaks

  • Holding your muscles in the same position for a long time

  • Lack of training in the safest way to carry out a task

  • Psychological stress

  • Lack of variety in the type of work you do

  • Prolonged exposure to cold and vibration

What are the symptoms of repetitive strain injuries?

  • Burning, aching or shooting pain.

  • Loss of sensation

  • Tremors, clumsiness and numbness

  • Throbbing or pulsating sensation in the affected area

  • Fatigue

  • Loss of strength

  • Difficulty with normal activities like opening doors, chopping vegetables, turning on a tap

  • Hands are always cold, particularly the fingertips

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