Upper Extremity Repetitive Use Injuries

Your upper extremities do a lot for you.  Think about it—whether you’re typing, playing tennis, throwing, lifting, or performing hundreds of other activities, your arms are “shouldering” a lot of the work.  With all the things our upper extremities do for us, it’s no surprise that they’re susceptible to repetitive use injuries.  Today, the staff at Resurgens Orthopaedics would like to bring you some information about what causes repetitive use injuries and some of the more common ones we see in our practice.

What Are Repetitive Use Injuries
Any time you make a movement, your soft tissues spring into action.  Muscle fibers, ligaments, and tendons all begin working in concert to help you achieve your goal.  Unfortunately, this puts strain on those soft tissues.  Friction, pulling, and shearing forces can damage soft tissues, and the more frequently the same motion is performed, the more this effect builds up and the more painful it can become for you.

Upper Extremity Repetitive Use Injuries

Common Repetitive Use Injuries of the Upper Extremities
Anyone can be susceptible to repetitive use injuries, from office workers to professional athletes.  You’ve probably heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, a repetitive use injury of the wrist that is associated with frequent typing, although it can be caused by any repetitive wrist or finger movement.  Tennis elbow is another that can happen when the arm is frequently bent and extended.  Repetitive use injuries like bursitis and tendonitis are also common in the shoulders; in fact, these make up a significant portion of the injuries seen in pro athletes.

Treatment of Repetitive Use Injuries
If you have persistent pain in one of your joints for a period of days, weeks, or longer, it may be associated with a repetitive use injury and it’s a good idea to see a doctor as soon as you can.  Treatment for these types of injuries is generally non-surgical and involves immobilization of the offending joint coupled with ice, heat, and anti-inflammatory drugs.  For severe cases, your doctor may recommend steroid injections to the area, although this is usually a last resort.


We hate to repeat ourselves, but repetitive stress injuries can become serious if not treated.  If you’re experiencing pain symptoms in your joints, get to a doctor right away to prevent your injury from turning into something debilitating.