We are a digital nation. And all that clicking, scrolling and typing is taking its toll, typically in the form of repetitive-stress injuries.
It’s not just desk jockeys who suffer these kinds of injuries, which can affect many areas of the body. Repetitive-stress injuries can happen to anyone who regularly repeats motions, including construction workers, tennis buffs and chefs.
These injuries can be avoided. “By stretching and releasing muscles that have a tendency to develop stress injuries, you can help avoid the need for surgery,” says Steve Giammona, a physical therapist at Beaufort Memorial.
Here are a few quick facts about repetitive-stress injuries:
What causes repetitive-stress injuries?
This type of injury typically occurs as a result of overuse or misuse of joints or tendons in areas like the hips, knees, elbows or hands. The resulting inflammation can lead to pain, limited mobility and long-term structural damage.
How do I know if I have such an injury?
Symptoms of repetitive-stress injuries may include pain, tenderness and limited mobility of a joint. You also might notice swelling, redness and warmth over the affected area.
How are repetitive stress injuries treated?
The RICE technique [rest, ice, compression, elevation], physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications is a standard first response. If the pain persists, you’ll want to move on to other treatments like steroid injections and surgery if earlier treatments fail.
The good news is that most cases heal well with proper care. You may need to make slight adjustments to your lifestyle or take extra precautions like wearing a brace or limiting certain kinds of activities.