Symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injury of the Wrist

Repetitive strain injury of the wrist is on the increase. For information about this injury and to gain more insight into the condition, take a look at the article below.

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves, and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse.

  • Your wrist and hand are a complex array of bones, nerves, muscles, and tendons. Given how much you use your hands, it’s hardly surprising that you can develop RSI of the wrist.
  • RSI of the wrist is becoming more common as a result of increased use of computers at home and at work, as well as the time spent texting and on smartphones. All of this puts a heavy load on the small muscles of your hand and wrist and leads to chronic inflammation of the ligament sheath surrounding a tendon. Any swelling of your wrist can compress the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel.
  • RSI of the wrist gets worse over time from the continuous stress on your wrist.


Repetitive Strain Injury of the Wrist

RSI is caused or made worse by:

  • Repeated or pressurized finger or hand movements, for example, typing, using the phone, computer use, or operating a machine.
  • Continuous twisting movements of the wrist or holding your wrist in an awkward position for long periods.
  • Repeated bending of the wrist or reaching out with the arm, such as playing sports like golf, tennis, squash, and baseball.
  • Overuse due to working on a computer or writing for long hours without a break. Your muscles and tendons need breaks in order to recover.
  • Awkward grips or positions, using too much force, hammering, pounding, vibration, pushing, pulling, lifting movements. Many manual jobs involve these movements, such as factory work and construction
  • Fast-paced work.
  • Badly designed equipment and positioning such as when sitting at a desk in front of a screen.
  • Playing musical instruments.
  • Prolonged exposure to cold, for example, a gardener who works outside in the winter.


Symptoms of RSI of the Wrist

Symptoms of this condition can range from mild to severe. It usually develops gradually. Signs and symptoms often include:

  • A painful, tender wrist.
  • Throbbing in the wrist,
  • Swelling along the thumb side of the wrist.
  • Stiffness.
  • Tingling or numbness of the wrist.
  • Weakness – you may encounter difficulty gripping objects.
  • Limited range of motion of your wrist.

At first, you may only notice symptoms when you’re carrying out a particular repetitive action. However, without treatment, the symptoms will eventually get worse and become constant.

RSI of the wrist is occurring more frequently. Although some workers have always been at risk, the changing nature of work and our lifestyles are leading to more cases occurring.  Desk-based work involves using computers or screens, more automated work, use of electrical hand-held equipment and modern workplace practices are making the problem worse. Our social lives too revolve around computers, tablets, and mobile phones. Being aware of the condition, including the risk factors can help you prevent or minimise repetitive strain injury of your wrist.

Consult a doctor if you have issues with your wrist.