What is RSI?
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) doesn’t just occur in sport. Any repetitive activity can lead to an overuse injury. Overuse injuries occur over a period of time, usually due to excessive and repetitive loading of the tissue, with symptoms presenting gradually. Little or no pain might be experienced in the initial stages of these injuries and the individual might continue to place pressure on the injured site.
During repetitive exercise, the tissues (muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments etc.) experience excessive physiological stress. When the activity is over, the tissues undergo adaptation to be stronger and withstand a similar stress in the future if required. Overuse injury occurs when the adaptive capability of the tissue is exceeded.
What are the symptoms?
With RSI you may experience tenderness or pain in the affected muscle or joint, a throbbing or pulsating sensation in the affected area, tingling in the hand and arm, loss of sensation and loss of strength.
What causes it?
Possible causes of RSIs could be poor posture, non-ergonomically designed work space, maintaining the same posture for prolonged periods, vibrating equipment and carrying heavy loads. Increased psychological stress has also been shown to worsen RSI.
Can I have some examples?
- Bursitis – where fluid-filled sac near knees, elbows and shoulders becoming inflamed
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – painful compression of the nerve in the wrist
- Golfer’s Elbow – affecting the inside of the lower arm near the elbow, commonly caused by repetitive twisting motions or frequently playing certain sports
- Tennis Elbow – affecting the outer part of the elbow
- Stenosing tenosynovitis – where a finger becomes stuck in the bent position and, when straightened, it does so with a snap. (also known as ‘trigger finger’ or ‘texting tendonitis’)
Top tip for desk workers
If you work at a desk, RSI may be something you have experienced or an issue you are more susceptible to. Take small steps towards minimising your risk of developing RSI with these top tips.
- Ergonomics: ensure that your desk, chair and screen are aligned in an ergonomic fashion. Employers will have access to official guidelines.
- Posture: avoid slouching by keeping the ears and back in a straight line with the pelvis.
- Wrists: avoid bending the wrists and keep the arms, wrists and fingers aligned when typing.
- Typing: avoid hitting the keys too hard when typing. Touch typing can help, as each finger will take its fair share of pressure, and there is no need to keep looking down at the keyboard. Voice-activated software can also minimise the need for typing.
- Shortcuts: keyboard shortcuts can reduce typing and mouse movements.
- Mouse: don’t grip the mouse too tightly, and slow your speed to reduce muscle tension in the hand.
- Telephone: if you need to type while using a telephone, wearing a headset is better than clamping the phone between the head and the shoulder.
If you experience repetitive strain injury, get in touch with us to see how we can help on 01249 445426 or book an appointment with us here.