Sunday, June 22, 2008

Repetitive strain injury

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a term that is used to refer to various kinds of injuries to muscles, tendons or nerves. These injuries are caused by repetitive movement of a particular part of the body. RSI can also be referred to as upper limb disorder (ULD). This is because the condition often involves the upper part of the body - the forearm, elbow, wrist, hands, and neck.
The most common RSI conditions include:
Bursitis - inflammation and swelling of the fluid-filled sac near a joint at the knee, elbow or shoulder.
Carpal tunnel syndrome - pressure on the median nerve passing through the wrist.
Dupuytren's contracture - a thickening of deep tissue which passes from the palm of the hand into the fingers.
Epicondylitis - inflammation of an area where bone and tendon join - for example, tennis elbow.
Ganglion - a cyst in a tendon sheath, usually occurring on the wrist.
Rotator cuff syndrome - inflammation of muscles and tendons in the shoulder.
Tendinitis - inflammation of a tendon.
Tenosynovitis - inflammation of the inner lining of the tendon sheath that houses the tendons that control the fingers and thumbs.
Trigger finger - inflammation of the tendon sheaths of fingers or thumb accompanied by swelling of the tendon.
Diffuse RSI - nerve damage.
RSI is often caused, or aggravated, by frequently repeated movements, such as a task or leisure activity - for example playing golf or tennis regularly. Symptoms usually persist over time if left untreated.
As the number of people using computers increases, the chances of developing RSI increases. The repetitive action of typing on a computer can cause painful symptoms in fingers and hands, such as a throbbing pain. RSI caused by typing on a computer is typically referred to as 'writer's cramp'.
RSI is also linked to many types of repetitive manual work, such as the use of vibrating equipment in factories.
If there are any symptoms, including painful, tingling or swollen hands, elbows, wrists or shoulders, it is important to get treatment quickly. The sooner treatment is started the better the chances of recovery.
Types of RSI
RSI can be categorised into two types, Type 1 RSI and Type 2 RSI:
Type 1 RSI - this includes conditions that are due to repetitive tasks, but can also be common in people who do not carry out repetitive tasks. The main symptoms tend to be swelling and inflammation of muscles and tendons. Typical type 1 RSI conditions include carpal tunnel syndrome (pressure in the wrist), tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon), and tenosynovitis (inflammation of tendon sheath).
Type 2 RSI - is when a person's symptoms do not fit into one of the above listed conditions. This is usually because there is no obvious inflammation or swelling in the affected area, merely a feeling of pain. This type is often called 'non-specific pain syndrome'

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