RSI, or repetitive strain injury, is used as a term for a variety of injuries related to muscles. Categorised into Type 1 or Type 2 RSI, it typically affects the sufferer’s arms, hands and/ or upper body. It is often associated with repetitive manual tasks, typing or use of vibrating equipment; working in very cold environments, poor posture or working in awkward or tiring positions for prolonged periods of time.
Types of repetitive strain injuries
Type 1 RSI covers a selection of recognised medical conditions, including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (weakness/ pain in the sufferer’s hand or forearm)
- Dupuytren’s contracture (causing fingers to bend in the direction of the palm)
- Hand/ arm vibration syndrome
- Rotator cuff syndrome (pain in the shoulder)
- Tendonitis (an inflammation of tendons, the tissue joining muscles to bones)
- Tennis elbow
- Writer’s (hand) cramp
Unlike Type 2 RSI, which is fairly hard to diagnose and often does not feature swelling or inflammation, Type 1 RSI conditions can usually be diagnosed fairly quickly.
Cumulative trauma disorder symptoms and treatments
Also referred to as WRULD (work-related upper limb disorder), cumulative trauma disorder or overuse injury, RSI can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including:
- Dull to sharp aches/ pains
- Weakness, loss of grip
The longer the condition is allowed to go untreated, the worse these symptoms can become. Depending on the actual condition present and the severity of symptoms, treatments can range from physiotherapy and self-help measures, to steroid injections or even surgery.
Overuse injuries, employers and the law
The 1999 ‘Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations’; the 1974 ‘Health & Safety at Work Act’ and the 2005 ‘Regulations for Control of Vibrations at Work’ place employers under a legal duty of care to prevent work-related overuse injuries by:
- Carrying out risk assessments
- Providing well-designed workstations/ jobs
- Training staff in maintaining good working practices and postures
- Provide for regular break periods
- Provide regular health checks to monitor the effect of vibrations on workers
Claiming for compensation for surgery
If you suffer from or require surgery for some type of RSI because of a breach of duty of care by your employer, you may be entitled to work injury compensation. Accident Advice Helpline specialises in no win, no fee* personal injury claims and can assist you in quickly getting the compensation you deserve. Advisers are available 24/ 7 via a free phone number and calls are strictly confidential.
Date Published: January 6, 2014
Author: David Brown