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Your Body - Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is not a specific injury, but instead a loose grouping of similar injuries. These injuries are also often called repetitive stress injuries, and overuse syndromes. These are soft tissue injuries associated with long-term stress on an area of the body. These are usually caused by a prolonged activity in a poor posture or misalignment of the joints involved. Repeating the same activity over an extended period of time can lead to an RSI.

RSI is a common injury in manufacturing work and with computer work, although it is also found in many sport activities. Sports requiring the same movements, in similar planes and range of motion, can quickly lead to repetitive strain injuries. Tennis, golf, and distance running are a few of the sports associated with repetitive stress injuries.

Anatomy involved

An RSI can occur in any muscle, tendon or joint that is impacted by a repetitive stress, although it is most commonly found in the shoulder, elbow or wrist. Below is a list of some of the more common repetitive strain injuries for each body area.

Hand and Wrist:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Pinching of one of the nerves that passes through the wrist)
  • Tendonitis of the Wrist (Irritation and inflammation of the tendons around the wrist)

Elbow:

  • Golfer's Elbow (Irritation of the tendon attaching to the medial epicondyle)
  • Tennis Elbow (Irritation of the tendon attaching to the lateral epicondyle)

Shoulder:

  • Impingement Syndrome (Inflammation in the shoulder causing the rotator cuff tendons and the bursa to become impinged)

Hip:

  • Snapping Hip Syndrome (Tendons that catch on bony prominences and cause a "snapping" sensation on movement.)
  • Bursitis of the Hip (The bursal sac becomes inflamed causing pain when the tendon moves over it.)

Knee and Leg:

  • Stress Fractures (A fracture of the bone due to prolonged stress placed on the bone without adequate rest)
  • Shin Splints (The name given to symptoms of pain over the anterior portion of the lower leg)

Ankle and Foot:

  • Tendonitis of the Achilles Tendon (Irritation and inflammation of the Achilles Tendon)
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (Similar in mechanism to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, except in the foot)
  • Posterior Tibial Tendonitis (Pain in the inside of the foot and ankle caused by inflammation of the posterior tibial tendon)

Signs and Symptoms

Initially pain may be felt only during an activity and stopping the movement may bring relief. Over time this discomfort carries into rest time as well. With prolonged use and lack of treatment the pain may become severe, even crippling.

Tingling and numbness, along with swelling and loss of strength and / or flexibility in the affected area may also occur. The tingling and numbness will usually occur distally (away from the body) from the actual injury site.

Compression of the nerves and or blood vessels passing through the injury site is the common causes of the pain, tingling and numbness. The pain usually starts out localized to the site of the injury but over time may radiate away from the site along the extremity.

The affected muscles may cramp at times and sensation may be lost or impaired to the affected part of the body.


What Our Clients Say

"After suffering from lower back pain for many years, I thought I should get something done about it. I was recommended to see Ross, Unsure at the time about seeing a Sports Injury Specialist, as my complaint was defiantly not a sporting injury! I thought recommendation is a strong piece of advice so I went to see Ross, What a good move. He explained that just because the injury was not sustained during sport the diagnosing and treatment is still the same. He subsequently got straight to the site of pain, with an in depth examination and a clear diagnosis, the treatment was very successful. I am now able to sit at my desk at work pain free." Miss. Chappel

"Amazing! After so many other failed visits to consultants, with Ross, I'm now pain free. I only wish I knew of him years ago. He explained the reasons behind my injury, how I was to be treated, the healing process and how to avoid future injury. I'd recommend him to anybody." - Mr. Castle

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