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What is a Repetitive Strain Injury?

As a personal injury lawyer, I deal with many different types of injuries caused by a variety of accidents. In particular, I specialise in repetitive strain injury cases also known as Work Related Upper Limb Disorders (or WRULD).

A repetitive strain injury is a term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by carrying out repetitive daily work tasks. The type of work tasks that could cause a repetitive strain injury include repetitive typing, stamping, pushing, pulling, twisting or gripping for long periods of time without adequate breaks.

It usually affects parts of the upper body, particularly in the wrists and hands but can also affect elbows, forearms, the neck and shoulder. If you are carrying out the same repetitive tasks during the course of your working day, you may begin to develop the following symptoms:

  • Pain or tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Cramp

If these symptoms continue without treatment, you could develop the following types of repetitive strain injury:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – pressure on a nerve passing through the wrist
  • Tendonitis – inflammation of a tendon
  • Tenosynovitis – inflammation of the sheath that surrounds a tendon
  • Bursitis – inflammation of a bursa (a fluid-filled sac which forms under the skin, usually over the joints and between tendons and bones)
  • Trigger finger – a condition which affects the tendons in the hand

If you believe you have develop, or are suffering with a repetitive strain injury, it is important that you stop the repetitive task immediately and speak to your employer about your concerns. Continual use of the injured area can lead to permanent disability.


RSI Action – The RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) charity

NHS Choices