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What are repetitive motion injuries?

When it comes to work-related injuries, there are a host of different injuries that can occur. Not all of these injuries are caused by accidents. Instead, some injuries are caused by having to repeat the same motions over and over again. These injuries are called repetitive motion injuries.

What types of motions can cause repetitive motion injuries?

Motions like constantly using your wrists on an assembly line or moving products over the scanner in a checkout lane can cause repetitive motion injuries. These injuries can occur to almost any joint or muscle in the body, including the shoulders, knees, ankles and elbows.

How do I know if I have a repetitive motion injury?

There often isn't any outward sign that you have suffered from a repetitive motion injury. These injuries all affect the soft tissues, including the nerves, ligaments, tendons and muscles. This can make it difficult to diagnose. You might suffer from pain in the affected area. You might also notice swelling, redness and loss of mobility in the affected area.

What are the treatments for these injuries?

In many cases, you will have to stop doing the repetitive motions while the injury heals. If these motions are crucial for your job, you might not be able to work. In some cases, you will need physical therapy, medication and other therapies to help the injury heal. Severe cases might require surgery.

Most cases of repetitive motion injuries are able to be rehabilitated. You might have to move to a job that doesn't involve the motions that caused the injuries because re-injury is possible.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, "NINDS Repetitive Motion Disorders Information Page," accessed Feb. 12, 2016

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