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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Injuries and Wounds > Repetitive Stress Injury
      Category : Health Centers > Bones, Joints, and Muscles

Repetitive Stress Injury

Alternate Names : RSI, Repetitive Stress Syndrome

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Repetitive stress injury (RSI) is caused by repeated or excessive movement of the shoulders and arms.

In order for the shoulder, arms, and hands to move, the muscles of the upper body must contract. Repetitive stress injury occurs when certain movements are made repeatedly, causing:

  • a diminished blood flow and oxygen supply to the muscles
  • tightening of the structures of the upper body, which makes them more susceptible to injury
  • rubbing of tendons against ligaments or bones, which causes inflammation of the tendons
  • pinched nerves, if tissues are inflamed or if repetitive movements rub the nerve
  • What are the causes and risks of the injury?

    Causes of repetitive stress injury include:

  • repetitive and excessive use of the muscles of the upper limbs. This includes activities such as typing, sewing, heavy lifting, playing tennis, sawing wood, and using a cash register
  • poor posture when carrying out the same activities
  • poorly designed work conditions and work stations
  • pregnancy
  • If RSI is not successfully treated, nerve and tissue damage may cause a decrease in feeling and range of motion. There may be chronic pain or soreness in affected area. Disability or loss of employment may also occur.

    RSI conditions include:

  • carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes pain and other symptoms in the hand and wrist
  • tendinitis, which is an inflammation of the tendons in any part of the body
  • bursitis, which is an inflammation of the sac that cushions a joint
  • ganglions, which are cysts that may occur on a tendon


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    Repetitive Stress Injury: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Reviewed: 08/09/01

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