Repetitive Strain Injury Symptoms

What are the symptoms of repetitive strain injury?

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) symptoms in the affected area can include:

  • Pain
  • Tightness
  • Dull ache
  • Throbbing
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

The symptoms tend to develop gradually. At first the symptoms may only occur whilst you do the repetitive task and ease off when you rest. In time the symptoms can be present all the time but tend to be made worse by doing the repetitive task. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Some people divide RSI into two main categories: Type 1 RSI and Type 2 RSI.

Type 1 RSI

This includes well-defined syndromes such as:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: pain and squashing (compression) of a nerve in the wrist.
  • Tendinopathy: inflammation of a tendon.
  • Tenosynovitis: inflammation of a tendon sheath.

See separate leaflets called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tendinopathy and Tenosynovitis for more details. These conditions may be due to, or be made worse by, repetitive tasks. However, these syndromes are also common in people who have not done repetitive tasks. These syndromes may have other symptoms such as swelling, inflammation, nerve compression problems, etc.

Type 2 RSI

This is where symptoms do not fit into a well-defined syndrome. Also, there are no objective or measurable signs such as inflammation, swelling or problems with nerve function. It is sometimes called diffuse RSI or nonspecific pain syndrome.

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Author:
Dr Laurence Knott
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Adrian Bonsall
Document ID:
4322 (v41)
Last Checked:
06 July 2017
Next Review:
05 July 2020

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.