RSI - Repetitive Strain Injuries

What is a repetitive strain injury?

A repetitive strain injury is caused by overuse and repeated actions; these injuries are most common in the hands and arms. RSI often affects the tendons, ligaments and muscles.

Common causes of RSI

Common activities which contribute to repetitive strain injuries include typing, playing a musical instrument and writing. In sport, these injuries are common in tennis players (tennis elbow), golfers (golf elbow), baseball pitchers and long distance runners. Injuries are made more serious by a lack of rest in between activities, which may trigger the onset of the condition.

Symptoms of RSI

Common symptoms include pain, which can sometimes be intense and prolonged, swelling, numbness and a restricted range of movement around the affected area. Symptoms can often persist for longer than other common injuries, especially if the individual continues to carry out the movement.

Treating RSI

The most important and effective form of treatment is rest from the activity which triggered the injury initially; this involves taking a break from the particular activity. Ice, heat and anti-inflammatory medication will help to ease swelling and analgesic medication should decrease pain. Specific exercises and stretches may help to increase flexibility in the area and improve movement. Physiotherapy may sometimes be recommended to reduce pressure on the affected joint; surgery may also be required in extreme cases.

Preventing RSI

The most important preventive measure is a thorough warm up prior to physical activity; it is also important to remember to cool down after exercise; these processes allow the muscles time to adjust. Regular exercise will keep the muscles working effectively and the joints loose; this will reduce the chance of suffering with a repetitive strain injury.

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