Repetitive strain injury
Repetitive strain injury, also called repetitive stress injury or typing injury, is an occupational overuse syndrome affecting the tendons and nerves. It occurs when a person makes too many of the same motions over a long period of time. It is most common among workers on assembly lines and among those who type frequently or use a computer mouse extensively. The chances of developing the disorder are lessened by using good posture and providing ergonomic working conditions.
Injuries often considered RSI
Repetitive strain injury is not a specific disease but a loose group of other, more specific conditions. Some of these are:
- Stenosing tenosynovitis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- DeQuervain's syndrome
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
- Trigger finger/thumb
- Intersection syndrome
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSDS)
RSI conditions have many varied symptoms. The following may indicate the onset of an RSI.
- Painful, sore, or cold hands
- Tingling, numbness or loss of sensation
- Difficulty using hands, buttoning clothing, putting gas (petrol) in car, etc.
- Lack of endurance, weakness, fatigue
- Frequent self-massage
The following applies to typing or computer use.
- Avoid resting the wrists on anything when typing. Hold them straight, rather then bent up, down, or to the side.
- Use two hands to invoke multiple key combinations, instead of reaching for the keys with one hand.
- Eliminate the use of the computer mouse as much as possible:
- Learn to use keyboard shortcuts. Define your own shortcuts if the application allows it.
- Consider turning on accessibility features (e.g. sticky keys).
- Try to perform mouse-intensive tasks from the keyboard.
- Use a browser which was designed with extensive keyboard accessibility in mind (for example, by using the combination of "Find links" and "Spatial navigation" features of Opera an almost completely mouseless browsing experience is possible).
- Drink lots of water in order to stay hydrated, keep joints healthy, and ensure frequent breaks.
- Learn to pay attention to posture. Be aware of pain and change habits to prevent it.
- Sandra Peddie; The Repetitive Strain Injury Source Book; ISBN 0-7373-0022-1
- MIT Medical Department: REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURIES: What You Absolutely Need to Know (PDF)
- The Typing Injury FAQ
- Computer Related Repetitive Strain Injury
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association Of America
- A GPL piece of software to help prevent RSI
- A GPL software for defining custom keyboard and mouse macros (Windows)
- PRSI Break reminds you to perform regular stretching exercises using an animated character