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In our 2nd article looking at Repetitive Strain Injury we look at symptoms and tips to help /alleviate or prevent onset

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Part 2


Symptoms of RSI can take months or even years to appear. Initially, only a slight ache may be felt. As the problem gets worse, there is more marked pain while performing the repeated activity (e.g.) when typing. Eventually, the pain may be felt most of the time, even with only slight movements. As well as the pain, numbness and tingling may make it difficult to hold objects.

The most common RSI signs and symptoms include:

  • Tenderness in the affected muscle or joint
  • Pain in the affected muscle or joint
  • A throbbing (pulsating) sensation in the affected area
  • Pins and needles (tingling) in the affected area, especially the hand or arm
  • Loss of sensation in the hand
  • Loss of strength in the hand

Examples of repetitive strain injuries

Repetitive strain injury is a very broad term, some of the more common types of RSIs include.

  • Bursitis results from pain in the bursa caused by inflammation. The bursa acts as a cushion between bones, tendons, joints, and muscles. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs. Bursitis commonly occurs in the shoulder, knee, elbow, and hip.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the compression of the median nerve through the carpal tunnel in the wrist area of hand. When constricted, blood cannot flow freely through the hand to the fingers causing numbness, burning sensations and pain in the hand.
  • Diffuse RSI is where the patient experiences pain but upon examination by a health care professional, nothing physical can be found to be wrong.
  • Dupuytren's contracture is a rare condition that affects the hands and fingers. Connective tissue under the skin of the palm contract and toughen over time. It causes one or more of the fingers on one or both hands to bend into the palm of the hand. Eventually the hand can become completely clenched.
  • Epicondylitis is the medical name for conditions such as tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. It results from overuse of muscles and tendons at joints. Rest is the treatment of first choice.

Tips to prevent repetitive strain injury

  • Warm up and cool down the muscles used before and after repetitive activity
  • When working on a computer, aim to regularly stretch arms and wrists and straighten fingers. Stand up and walk around when feeling fatigued and stare into the middle distance.
  • Take regular breaks throughout the day
  • Have an appropriate workstation and seating position
  • If your job puts you at risk of RSI you should seek out expert advice on prevention from your employer or professional body
  • If you use a mobile phone regularly, use a hands-free headset. This stops you cradling the phone between an ear and a bent neck which can cause neck strain.
  • Using the universal shortcuts when typing will result in less typing and hence less risk of injury. Some common ones are CTRL + a = select all. CTRL + c = copy. CTRL + p = print. CTRL + s = save. CTRL + v = paste. CTRL + x = cut. CTRL + z = undo

1st Contact Physio

 1st Contact Physio with Chartered Physiotherapist, Kevin D’Arcy. MISCP. Located in the private consultation suite, upstairs at Whelehans Pharmacy, 38 Pearse St, Mullingar


1st Contact Physio services include sports injuries, spinal injuries, back pain management, neck, and shoulder pain, post operative physiotherapy, sports rehabilitation, orthotics, and sports massage. Physiotherapy is €60 for initial session and €50 for follow up sessions, Kevin offers reduced physiotherapy rates for Medical Card holders, children, and sports clubs. Book your appointment on the Whelehans website or Call Kevin on 0873813473 or Email


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