Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a common injury that can happen for a number of reasons. It is commonly associated with individuals who work on their desks and or computers without the necessary support. Repetitive strain injury is a growing problem in the UK and if not treated correctly can cause mobility issues later in life. 

The BBC suggests that it is a growing problem with statistics suggesting that as more and more people work with computers repetitive strain injury affects 5-10% of their population. This is supported by the chartered society of physiotherapy who suggest that almost 450,000 UK workers suffer from RSI. Thus, the aim of this blog post is to look at the issues of RSI and the impact it can have. We do advise that if you do feel a pain in your wrist or shoulder to always get medical attention.

What is repetitive strain injury?

The NHS describe repetitive strain injury as a “general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse“. In laymans terms this is a muscular condition which it is caused by a prolonged set of repetitive actions, typically with the hands. To support the minimisation of RSI while working at a computer we propose the Ergonomic vertical penguin mouse. Recommended by professionals.

Thus, it is a medical term to describe the damage to tissues caused by repeated physical actions. They are often work-related actions and the tissues affected are often in the upper body, mainly in the arm and or shoulder. Often the problem manifests itself as wrist pain or in more severe cases a wrist injury. In either case it needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

The wrist happens to be the most common trouble spot for RSI victims as a study showed it affects 6 out of 10 office workers, inflicting wrist pain, shoulder issues or a wrist injury. Research suggests that a key reason for this is poor support and poor ergonomic placement of equipment. Often office workers and or people who work from home complain that the equipment such as keyboards were placed too high and the mouse was difficult to use, all actions that place pressure on the wrist. Common answers to this is to provide ergonomic equipment, either keyboards, mouse, or desks. Another common treatment is to take regular and adequate computer breaks.

What are the symptoms of repetitive strain injury (RSI)?

Repetitive strain injuries are divided into two categories, these are Type 1 & Type 2. Type 1 RSI is where the symptoms can be categorised into a specific condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinopathy or bursitis. Type 2 is where the symptoms aren’t as easily recognised. They are vaguer or shifting with a few or no visible signs.

The symptoms of repetitive strain injury (RSI) range from mild to severe and it is a condition which gradually develops. Symptoms include:

  • Pain, aches or tenderness in the shoulder and or wrist
  • Wrist pain
  • Wrist injury
  • Cramp
  • Throbbing
  • Stiffness

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see a physiotherapist right away. Put precautions in place and buy the right office equipment to ensure the pain doesn’t develop.

What can cause Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)?

The common factor in all type of repetitive strain injuries are caused by repetitive movements from a particular part of the body. Like previously mentioned, it’s the limbs within the upper body that are affected by this disorder. They gradually become worn and damaged with overuse. Repeated actions and strains often cause small tears and signs of degeneration which overtime create symptoms within the person.

The problem of repetitive strain injury is commonly associated with inadequate equipment or support in the workplace. Poor positioning of hands or poor use of mice technique can contribute to RSI. The problem only gets worse with continued usage. It is a problem which needs to be addressed early especially for individuals who use their home or office spaces when working. 

Unfortunately we may only show signs and symptoms of repetitive strain injury (RSI) when carrying out repetitive actions and in a lot of cases when the damage has already been done. In many cases it could be years before we are aware that this problem afflicts us. Without real treatment and precautions, the symptoms could become constant and get worse essentially causing swelling in the area which could last months.

What to do to prevent RSI

Luckily there are things you can do to combat RSI. Health professionals recommend the following:

  • Vary your tasks. Stand up to take/ make a phone call. Be mobile and move around every 20 minutes.
  • Sit facing straight ahead with feet planted on the floor and legs uncrossed
  • Adjust your chair and screen to make your workspace as comfortable as possible
  • Adjust the back rest of your chair or use a lumbar support back tool for comfort
  • Keep your wrists in a relaxed position and place your mouse within an easy reach to support your forearms on the desk
  • Invest in an ergonomic mouse to alleviate any stress or pain within the wrist
  • We also have ergonomic keyboards which can help if you are visually impaired or need an ergonomic keyboard for typing

Here at 1stMobility we provide some ergonomic equipment which can help ease and alleviate RSI pain and avoid wrist pain. One of the key products we recommend is the revolutionary ergonomic penguin mouse. This mouse is especially designed to support individuals who have problems with the wrist and or shoulder. A breakthrough product to help reclaim our work independence.

RSI Additional Media

This Video Discusses the Perils of RSI in more detail. They discuss the science and the importance of good economics.

This is a quick short guide that discusses issues people face when living with RSI. For more information on repetitive strain injury or would like to explore some of the issues we discuss, please have a look at the following links for reference:


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