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Repetitive strain injury (RSI), also called work-related upper limb disorder (WRULD), is a general term used to describe the pain caused to muscles, nerves and tendons by repetitive movement and overuse. The condition mostly affects parts of the upper body, such as the forearm, elbow, wrist, hands, neck and shoulders.
RSI of the wrist can develop in any job that requires overusing the hands to perform a repetitive task. It is most commonly seen with prolonged typing, mousing or occasionally writing. Fine hand movements, repeated hour and hour, day after day without adequate breaks eventually mean the rate of wear of muscles and tendons of the wrist is greater than the rate of repair. This leads to inflammation, degeneration of tendons and sometimes microscopic tears of muscles and tendons. The resulting symptoms include: pain, stiffness, weakness, numbness and impaired motor control.
The main risk factors for developing a wrist RSI include:
Below are some ergonomic tips to pay attention to when using a computer:
Using a mouse can be even more harmful than typing. Here are three reasons why this is so:
There are a wide variety of ergonomic mouse and keyboards which can also assist in managing RSI by placing your hand and arm in a more suitable position and preventing overuse of one particular muscle group e.g wrist extensors. Examples of these include a penguin mouse and a sculpt ergonomic keyboard.
If you are experiencing symptoms of RSI or would like advice on how best to avoid developing a work related injury, please contact us here.