Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a syndrome incorporating several discrete conditions associated with activity-related arm pain such as edema, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, stenosing tenosynovitis, intersection syndrome, golfer's elbow or medial epicondylitis, tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis, radial tunnel syndrome, and focal dystonia.
RSI is also used as an umbrella term for non-specific illnesses popularly referred to as Blackberry thumb, iPod finger, gamer's thumb (a slight swelling of the thumb caused by excessive use of a gamepad), Rubik's wrist or "cuber's thumb" (tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or other ailments associated with repetitive use of a Rubik's Cube for speedcubing), Trigger finger, Stylus Finger" (swelling of the hand caused by repetitive use of mobile devices and mobile device testing.), Raver's Wrist, caused by repeated rotation of the hands for many hours (for example while holding glow sticks during a rave), and others.
Doctors have recently begun making a distinction between tendinitis and tendinosis in RSI injuries. There are significant differences in treatment between the two, for instance in the use of anti-inflammatory medicines, but they often present similar symptoms at first glance and so can easily be confused.
The following complaints are typical in patients who might receive a diagnosis of RSI:
Short bursts of pain in the arm, back, shoulders, wrists, hands, or thumbs (typically diffuse – i.e. spread over many areas).
The pain is worse with activity.
Weakness, lack of endurance.
Gloves to avoid RSI during typing.
RSI is believed by many to be caused due to lifestyle without ergonomic care, E.g. While working in front of computers, driving, traveling etc. Simple reasons, like using a blunt knife for everyday chopping of vegetables, may cause RSI.
Other typical habits that some sources believe lead to RSI:
Reading or doing tasks for extended periods of time while looking down.
Sleeping on an inadequate bed/mattress or sitting in a bad armchair and/or in an uncomfortable position.
Carrying heavy items.
Holding one's phone between neck and shoulder.
Watching TV in incorrect position e.g. Too much to the left/right.
Sleeping with head forward, while traveling.
Prolonged use of the hands, wrists, back, neck, etc.
Sitting in the same position for a long period of time.