February 28, 2023, is RSI Awareness Day—an annually recognized day where people are encouraged to present special attention to Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and have conversations about this common injury. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), RSI affects some 1.8 million workers per year, making it one of the most widespread occupational hazards.
What is a Repetitive Strain Injury?
Repetitive strain injury is an umbrella term that refers to any medical condition caused by repetitive movements or stresses on particular parts of the body. Common types of RSIs include carpal tunnel syndrome in wrists, tendonitis in elbows, and bursitis in knees and shoulders. This type of injury is often caused by typing on a computer or phone for extended periods, playing specific instruments with poor posture, overexerting yourself during exercises, or using certain tools without proper safety precautions.
How to Prevent a Repetitive Strain Injury
With our increasingly digital world and long hours at work or school, it can be hard to prioritize taking care of your body and giving yourself rest when needed.
Here are some tips for being proactive about preventing repetitive strain injury:
Invest in an Ergonomic Workstation
Make sure that your desk setup has ergonomically designed furniture and accessories like adjustable chairs and keyboards that support the natural curves of your body while using a computer. Also, choose a mouse with a comfortable grip which will help reduce strain from repetitive clicking motions. Consider a standing desk to switch from sitting to standing throughout the day.
Take Breaks Every 15 Minutes
Get away from your screens every 15 minutes to stretch out your arms and legs and give your eyes a break from the blue light emitted by computers/phones/tablets. Consider setting reminders on your phone or computer throughout the day if you struggle with remembering to take breaks.
Strength Train Properly
When working out, it’s important to focus on building muscle and maintaining flexibility to prevent any RSIs from arising due to inflexible muscles exerting force on joints. Incorporate stretching into your warm-up routine before starting exercises so that all muscle groups are more likely to remain mobile afterward!
Know Your Limits
It’s important to be mindful of how much work you can do during any given period with respect to physical activity as well as prolonged concentration tasks like studying or coding projects – don’t overwork yourself! If something feels uncomfortable, make sure you take necessary measures such as extra rest days or changing up activities during exercise regimes to protect yourself from potential problems down the line.
RSIs can be prevented with proper planning, knowledge, and dedication – not only during specific “Awareness Days” but year round too! Being mindful of safe practices for both physical activity and mental concentration will go a long way toward promoting good health for athletes, professionals, students—and everyone else too.
Don’t Let a Repetitive Strain Injury Go Untreated
If you have unresolved pain related to an RSI, don’t live in agony, we can help. Make an appointment today and get back in the game with Access Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics.