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Upper Limbs

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is the name given to a group of conditions affecting the muscles, tendons, nerves and other soft tissues of the body. It is an umbrella term and is also known as Work Related Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD).

Fingers, hands and arms which are subjected to overuse, compounded by poor posture, twisting, cold, vibration or stress, are vulnerable to injury.

There are many common and well-defined conditions affecting the upper limbs. Repeated flexion and extension of the wrist can cause inflammation of tendons, leading to pressure on the median nerve. The associated numbness, burning and tingling symptoms are known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Tennis elbow is the result of muscle lesion or inflammation of tendons at the point where they attach to the bone. Tenosynovitis and Writer's Cramp are both recognised industrial injuries for occupations involving routine clerical or assembly line work and many thousands of miners and gas workers have received compensation for Vibration White finger for injuries sustained using pneumatic drills and hammers.

All of these conditions have a recognisable pathology. In addition, recent research suggests that non-specific arm pain may be due to nerve damage similar to a number of other painful neurological conditions.

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RSI.org.uk