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Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a term

used to describe a broad range of

symptoms caused by the repeated

movement of a particular part of

the body. RSIs are also known as

Work-Related Upper Limb Disorders

(WRULD), Repetitive Stress Injury and

Cumulative Trauma Disorder. It usually

affects the upper limb (shoulder, elbow,

wrist or hand) and can be caused by

any repeated activity including sports

and pastimes, affecting up to 500,000

people per year.

However, the most common association

made with RSI is through work, as this

is where we spend the majority of our

time. The past year has seen an almost

10% increase in symptoms of RSI,

costing employers an estimated

£5-£10bn in lost productivity.

Out of the office, recent advances in

technology – smartphones, handheld

videogames, even hair-straighteners

– have led to a new wave of RSI

problems. This demonstrates how even

the most entertaining or labour-saving

gadget might be causing an RSI which

can develop into a chronic problem.

There have always been difficulties

in treating these conditions. Firstly,

these conditions are sometimes

longstanding, having been initially left

by the patient (“I thought it was just

a sprain and that it would go away on

its own”). Also, these conditions are

cumulative and patients often finally

present with an array of symptoms.

This mix of syndromes therefore

needs deconstructing in order to make

accurate diagnoses so that treatment

for each can start. Finally, for many

of these problems to be accurately

assessed, diagnosed and effectively

treated, several specialists may need

to be involved – including the GP, an

orthopaedic surgeon, physiotherapists,

a hand therapist, a pain specialist, a

psychologist and even a vocational

rehabilitation specialist.

Unfortunately, liaising between these

teams has always been the job of the

patient or the GP and the complexity

of keeping track of treatment can lead

to miscommunication, delays and lack

of progress.

RSI TYPE 1 ANDTYPE 2

Type 1 conditions include well-defined

syndromes such as Carpal Tunnel

Syndrome, DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis,

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, Olecranon

Bursitis and Ganglion formation. These

conditions may be due to, or be

made worse by, repetitive tasks. These

syndromes may have other symptoms

such as swelling, inflammation, nerve

compression problems, etc.

Type 2 RSI conditions are less

specific. These tend to present as

deep, non-specific aching pains and

episodes of tingling and neurogenic

pain symptoms that are difficult to

define. Recent studies suggest that

repetitive movements cause traction

on peripheral nerves leading to these

symptoms. Other research suggests

that these conditions are myofascial

in origin.

RSI

Clinic

R E P E T I T I V E S T R A I N I N J U R Y

If you would like to contact us for more information, please call:

T: 020 3301 3750

or email

[email protected]

.

Further information is also available at our website

www.rsispecialist.co.uk

and via our iPhone app which is available to download free at the iTunes Store

or via the Apple Store on your iPhone (search for RSI Doctor).

Mr Tony Kochhar

Consultant Shoulder and

Upper Limb Surgeon

Tackling the rise of RSIs

A New

Multidisciplinary

Approach

Tackling the Rise of RSIs

TWELVE

Tackling the Rise of RSIs

• Continued repetitive actions

• Vibrating equipment

• Cold temperatures

• Poor posture or holding

the same posture on a

continued basis

• A badly-organised work area

• Prolonged periods of work

without a break

• Stress or fatigue

• Carrying heavy loads on

a repeated basis

COMMON CAUSES

OF RSI