What Is a Strain Injury?

Repetitive Use Injury

strain injury

Over the past month, we’ve been discussing common injuries of the elbow… and a lot of them tend to stem from a strain injury. So, what exactly is a ‘repetitive use injury? Many patients will come into our clinic with this type of injury and wonder “how” or “why”. Or when they have been told they have “tennis elbow” or “golfers elbow”, but are confused because they don’t play tennis or golf at all.

Causes of repetitive strain injury

You don’t even need to be an athlete to experience the symptoms of a repetitive use injury. Commonly, if you spend a lot of time working on a computer, gripping things throughout the day, or are even a car mechanic you can develop this type of injury.

Symptoms of repetitive strain injury

You can begin to experience tenderness, swelling, stiffness, and pain that’s mainly felt during the repetitive motion or action of the elbow or wrist.

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Preventing Repetitive strain injury

Well, the answer includes: resting, stretching, exercising, and awareness. Now, sometimes rest isn’t as simple as it sounds. Sometimes you cannot just completely stop what you’re doing, your sport, or even your work – because that’s your livelihood! But what you can do is allow yourself proper rest. Don’t spend the straight 8-10 hours on either of these activities.

Make sure that you schedule a few minutes of rest or stretching a couple of times per hour. This can include simply scooting back from the work that you are doing, stretch out your wrists and elbows, and maybe even massage the irritated area for a little while. Even though it is a short burst of rest…any rest counts.

Other ways to avoid repetitive use injuries include stretching, exercising, and awareness. Performing the proper stretches and exercises will help to improve the tone of the irritated muscles and fix any muscle imbalances that you may have.

Also, you want to be “aware”. Just how I explained in the paragraph before, you need to be aware of what you are doing or for how long you are doing the thing.

Also, be aware of your posture and positioning while doing whatever activity it is that you are doing. Make sure that you are not holding yourself in an awkward position, as this can place additional stress on the elbow or area of irritation.

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Now, if you have any further questions about how to avoid an overuse injury, or if you think that these statements relate to something that you are experiencing, please contact our office to speak to a therapist. And if you’d like to find out the best stretches to relieve tight elbow pain, check out our latest technique video below:

Hannah Andersen, PT, DPT
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