What Is a Repetitive Motion Injury (Repetitive Stress Injury)?

Repetitive motion injuries, also called repetitive stress injuries, are temporary or permanent injuries to muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons caused by performing the same motion over and over again.

One of the most common repetitive motion injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome. This disorder occurs when the median nerve, which travels from the forearm to the hand through a tunnel in the wrist, is compressed by swollen, inflamed ligaments and tendons. It is often seen with people who use computer keyboards or work on assembly lines.

The injury can be quite painful and can also cause numbness, clumsiness, and a loss of motion, flexibility, and strength in the area. It can worsen over time without treatment, and can result in a complete loss of function.

Facts about carpal tunnel syndrome

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), carpal tunnel release is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the US. Carpal tunnel syndrome accounts for the highest average number of days lost at work, when compared to all other major work-related injuries or illnesses. About 260,000 carpal tunnel release operations are performed each year, and about 47 percent are work related.

Learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome.

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