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Expert treatment for overuse syndromes and upper limb disorders
At Circle Health Group, our specialist consultants can quickly diagnose repetitive strain injury and help find the best course of treatment for you. If appropriate, they can easily refer you to one of our chartered physiotherapists, who will work with you to develop an exercise plan to ease your current symptoms and reduce the risk of further damage.
Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private repetitive strain injury treatment with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group. We typically have appointments available within 48 hours.
This page explains what repetitive strain injury is, what causes it, and what treatments are available.
Common symptoms of RSI include:
Repetitive strain injuries are caused by continuous, repeated movements of a part of your body. They are commonly work related but may also be caused by the overuse of technology or repeated actions performed during certain sports.
Common causes of RSI include:
Some common types of repetitive strain injury include:
The various risk factors for RSI can be broadly categorised as occupational, non-occupational, and psychosocial.
Doing certain jobs can increase your risk of developing an RSI. Jobs that involve continuous repeated movements, poor posture or staying in an uncomfortable position for prolonged periods of time can cause cumulative damage to the muscles, tendons or nerves.
Jobs that commonly lead to an RSI include typing, painting, and working on a supermarket checkout or factory conveyor belt.
Studies have found that psychosocial factors including workplace environments with poor physical conditions, high workload and negative relationships with co-workers appear to increase the risk of RSI.
Other risk factors include:
Some things you can do at home to help ease symptoms of RSI include:
Physiotherapy is normally the best way to treat a repetitive strain injury that hasn't responded to home treatments.
Once your consultant has made a diagnosis of RSI and established the underlying cause, you may be referred to our expert team of physiotherapists for treatment.
Physiotherapy for RSI may include:
If pain is severe and other treatments haven't worked, your consultant may recommend steroid injections. Steroid injections work by reducing inflammation in your joints, relieving pain, and making movement easier.
Steroids can provide effective short-term pain relief but should not be used for long periods of time as they can cause unpleasant side effects.
Surgery may be an option for certain types of RSI such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow and cubital tunnel syndrome where non-surgical treatments have been ineffective.
Most RSIs are work-related and it's important to get the support of your employer to take steps to prevent them. In the UK, your employer has a legal duty to provide safe working conditions and protect employees from injury including repetitive strain injury2.
Some things you can do at work to prevent RSI include:
Your consultant will ask you some questions about your symptoms, medical history, and the type of work you do. Tell your consultant if your symptoms are triggered or made worse by certain activities.
They will perform a physical examination to check your range of movement, muscle strength, and reflexes and look for signs of inflammation or tenderness.
Most repetitive strain injuries can be diagnosed based on your symptoms and physical examination. In some cases, your consultant may arrange for tests such as an X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, or nerve conduction studies to establish the cause of your RSI.
At Circle Health Group, your first appointment is very important as it's where we get to know you, discuss your expectations for treatment and encourage you to ask any questions you may have. It is important to us that you are as well-informed and comfortable as possible during your time with us, so please ask your consultant any questions you may have.
At the end of your appointment, your consultant will discuss possible treatment options with you and decide on the best option based on your diagnosis.
RSI normally develops gradually, and symptoms may be ignored leading to worsening of the condition and permanent damage. If caught early, RSI usually resolves with treatment. If you have symptoms of RSI make an appointment with a specialist as soon as possible to ensure early diagnosis and treatment.
RSI doesn't normally go away on its own while you continue the movements that caused it to develop in the first place. In many cases, if you stop or modify the movements that caused the RSI, the condition will improve. In more severe cases, medications, physiotherapy or surgery may be necessary.
RSI is damage to the soft tissue such as the muscles, tendons, and nerves, while arthritis is inflammation of the joints. While RSI itself does not cause arthritis, the things that trigger RSI such as repetitive movement, strain and wear and tear on the body can also cause arthritis.
If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about treatment for repetitive strain injury, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.
Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in February 2023. Next review due February 2026.