Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs)

Chartered Physiotherapy in Blackpool, St. Annes, Lytham, Poulton, Cleveleys and Fleetwood

What is an RSI?

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is the term applied to soft tissue injuries where repeated movements cause inflammation and damage, particularly to the muscles, tendons and nerves around a joint). Known for causing upper limb and forearm pain in particular, RSIs include many localised problems such as trigger finger, tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as more systemic (body-wide) pain syndromes like cervicobrachial pain syndrome.

The symptoms of an RSI include: aching, burning or shooting pain; tremors, tingling and numbness; fatigue or weakness in the limb; difficulty with grasping or performing everyday tasks like turning on a tap; and chronically cold hands, particularly at the fingertips. Symptoms may disappear once you’ve stopped the culprit task, but over time an RSI can turn into a long term (chronic) condition.

What causes RSIs?

Usually caused by placing undue stress and strain on a limb for too long in repetitive movements, some of the common causes can include:

  • Working with equipment that doesn’t fit properly
  • Using your arms for extended periods
  • Working at speed
  • Not taking enough breaks
  • Tensing your muscles in the same position for a long time
  • Lack of safety training to perform tasks better
  • Lack of variety in activity
  • Working in very hot or very cold conditions.

How do you treat an RSI?

As well as resting the affected area as much as possible, it can be important to get the right advice as early on as possible to prevent an RSI from turning into a chronic pain condition. As physiotherapists, we’ve treated a lot of soft tissue injuries, with RSIs some of the most common conditions that come through our doors. There are a huge number of different treatments and techniques that we may use on you after conducting a thorough assessment, but the approach will always be tailored to your specific injury and what you need to be able to do once recovered. We can also provide advice and exercises to correct any postural or technical problems that may be behind why the condition started in the first place.

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