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Repetitive strain injury – causes, side effects and treatments at

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 by

Repetitive strain injury is defined as the pain felt in the muscles, joints, tendons, nerves, and other soft tissues due to damage caused by highly repetitive movements. Overuse or improper use are the most common causes of the injury.

In the U.S., around three million cases of repetitive strain injury are reported. While this condition can happen to anyone, elderly people are more vulnerable to it.

The most common types of repetitive strain injury are:

  • Bursitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Epicondylitis
  • Osgood-Schlatter disease
  • Patellofemoral syndrome
  • Shin splints
  • Stress fractures
  • Tendonitis

Known symptoms and risk factors for repetitive strain injury

Factors that can increase the risk of a repetitive strain injury include:

  • Overuse of a particular muscle
  • Working in cold places
  • Poor posture
  • Forceful activities
  • Holding the same posture for prolonged periods
  • Receiving direct pressure
  • Heavy lifting
  • Stress and fatigue

Repetitive strain injury can be distinguished through the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness in the affected body part
  • A throbbing sensation in the affected area
  • A tingling feeling
  • Loss of sensation
  • Loss of strength
  • Swelling

Body systems affected by repetitive strain injury

Repetitive strain injury, although it is not fatal, must not be taken lightly as it can cause further complications, such as:

  • Pain that worsens over time.
  • Permanent disability or inability to use a particular body part.
  • It may cause prolonged absence from work.
  • It may cause early retirement in worse cases.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent or relieve repetitive strain injury

To hasten the healing of a strain injury, it is recommended to consume high amounts of the following:

  • Food high in protein – Protein-rich foods can increase the body’s amino acids. These amino acids are responsible for regenerating damaged tissues and strengthen areas where injuries occurred. Protein can be sourced from seafood, eggs, raw milk, beef, and turkey.
  • Stock up on vitamin C – It is an antioxidant which helps reduce inflammation after an injury. Vitamin C is also partly responsible for protein metabolism and formation of collagen, an essential connective tissue. Foods like bell peppers, citrus fruits, potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes are great sources of vitamin C.
  • Don’t forget vitamin A – It also promotes muscle healing and functions as an antioxidant which effectively combats swelling. Vitamin A can be sourced from sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, mangoes, and kale.
  • Get some zinc – This mineral is said to be responsible for around 300 enzymes reaction in the body which includes protein synthesis – an essential part to properly healing the muscles. Foods such as crab, beef, pork, chicken, and beans are rich in zinc.

Treatment and management options for repetitive strain injury

To treat repetitive strain injury, it is important to first determine exactly what caused it. Most health experts advise patients to take a break or stop doing the activity altogether. Using either a hot or cold pack, an elastic support or a splint can also be recommended.

Others find relief by doing yoga and osteotherapy or by getting a massage.

Where to learn more


Repetitive strain injury is a variety of conditions which causes pain in the muscles, tendons, joints and other soft tissues. It is often caused by a repetitive movement which strains certain body parts. The most common factors contributing to this condition are overuse or improper use of a particular muscle group.

Symptoms of repetitive strain injury include pain, tenderness in the affected body part, a throbbing sensation in the affected area,  a tingling feeling, loss of sensation, loss of strength, and swelling. Meanwhile, the pain associated with this condition can worsen over time if left untreated. It can also permanent disability.

Medical experts recommend intake of foods rich in protein, vitamins C and A, and zinc to help take care of the body’s soft tissues. As for treatment and management of repetitive strain injury, it may be advised to stop doing any activity that causes the problem.

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