Repetitive Strain Injury : Know The Possible Treatment Options


Damage to your muscles, tendons, or nerves from repetitive motions and continuous use is known as a repetitive strain injury. Discuss your injury's cause with your doctor to see whether you need to change your daily schedule. 

Damage to your muscles, tendons, or nerves from repetitive motions and continuous use is known as a repetitive strain injury. Another name for them is repeated stress injuries.

Recurrent strain injuries are quite common and frequently affect your ability to:

  • Thumbs and fingers.
  • Wrists.
  • Elbows.
  • Arms.
  • Shoulders.
  • Knees.

Repetitive motion or activity until it begins to affect your body can lead to repetitive strain injuries, as the term implies. Every activity, whether it be playing an instrument or typing on a computer at work, can result in a repetitive strain injury if done too frequently.

You can treat the majority of repetitive stress injuries at home.

A repetitive strain injury can occur to anyone. Those who are frequently impacted include:

  • Workers in positions that require physical exertion.
  • Athletes.
  • Musicians.
  • Those who frequently sit at a desk or use a computer.

Injury from repetitive strain occurs often. They cause a variety of conditions, such as:

  • Tendinitis.
  • Carpal tunnel disorder.
  • "Tennis elbow"
  • Trigger thumb and trigger finger.
  • Osgood-Schlatter.
  • Sprains and strains in the back.
  • A shin injury.

You will most obviously experience pain, discomfort, and other symptoms as a result of a repetitive strain injury.

Due to the cumulative nature of these damages, they might potentially result in other conditions like:

  • Tension fractures.
  • Cystic ganglions.
  • Syndromes of nerve compression.
  • Disc herniations.
  • Bursitis.
  • Contracture of Dupuytren.


A repetitive strain injury can result from any motion or activity that you repeatedly do. They take place following repeated exposure to your body to the same strain and stress. Such reasons include

  • Exercising very vigorously without warming up and cooling down.
  • Sports or other activities that call for repeating the same move whether standing or sitting, bad posture.
  • Working with a vibrating tool.
  • Working while it is chilly.

Repetitive strain injuries can occur when a body part, such as your shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist, or hand, is used repeatedly (RSI).

You could have RSI, for instance, if:

  • You engage in repetitive tasks like typing, decorating, or working on an assembly line.
  • You engage in sports that need a lot of repetition, like tennis or golf.
  • You frequently use hand-held power tools and have bad posture while standing or sitting at your desk job.
  • Work that is repetitive or demanding does not necessarily result in RSI. Years of doing the same work without any issues are common.

Aging is one factor among several that contribute to pain in a bodily component like the arm.

Risk Factors

As you do repeated actions, RSI may develop. Your muscles and tendons may eventually suffer injury from those motions.

The following are some activities that might raise your risk for RSI:

  • Maintaining the same position over extended periods while repeatedly pressing the same muscles
  • A rotator cuff rupture or an injury to your wrist, back, or shoulder might also predispose you to RSI. Maintaining an unnatural posture for a lengthy amount of time, such as holding your arms over your head, carrying heavy things, being in poor physical shape, or not exercising enough.

Workers in other occupations are also susceptible to RSI, not just those with desk employment. Some jobs that require repeated motions and might raise your risks consist of

  • Dental assistants
  • Power tool users in the building industry
  • Bus drivers, chefs, and musicians


Signs of a repetitive strain injury include the following:

  • Pain.
  • Swelling.
  • Tingling.
  • Numbness.
  • Stiffness.
  • Weakness.
  • Sensitive to heat or cold.


The best defense against a repetitive strain injury is not to overuse it.

At the time of sports or other physical endeavors:

  • Wear the appropriate safety gear.
  • If you experience discomfort during or after physical exercise, do not "play through it."
  • After vigorous exercise, give your body time to relax and recuperate.
  • Before participating in sports or working out, stretch and warm up.
  • After exercise, stretch and cool down.
  • Your body will experience less additional stress if your posture is better.


The best course of treatment for you will depend on the origin of your repetitive strain injury and the severity of your symptoms. To prevent further damage, changing or reducing the activity that injured you is the best course of action. Over time, your body will usually heal and fix any damage.

By using the R.I.C.E. method, you ought to be able to cure your symptoms at home.

Rest: Steer clear of injury-causing activities. When the wounded area of your body heals, avoid using it excessively.

Ice: Many times each day, apply a cold compress to your injury for 15 minutes at a time. Compression can assist to minimize swelling; simply wrap the area in an elastic bandage.

Elevation: As often as you can, elevate the injury above your heart.

NSAIDs that are sold over the counter, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, might lessen pain and inflammation. Before taking NSAIDs for more than 10 days, see your doctor.

If you need assistance with your posture, strength, or flexibility, your doctor could also recommend a physical therapist. If your accident was related to your job, you can also work with an occupational therapist who can help you customise your treatment to make you ready to go back to work.

Surgery may be required to heal the damage your accident has done to internal organs, although this is uncommon.

How soon will I feel better following treatment?

When you manage your symptoms and take a vacation from the activities that caused your injury, you should gradually start to feel better. The length of time depends on which injury you sustained and what sort of activities resulted in it. To get a precise time frame, speak with your provider.

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Page last reviewed: Apr 7, 2023

Next review due: Apr 7, 2025

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