Overuse syndrome

General or Other | - Others | Overuse syndrome (Disease)


Overuse syndromes, also called cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) or repetitive strain injury (RSI), are conditions characterized by chronic irritation to a body part.

Symptoms tend to develop gradually and worsen over time if left untreated. Symptoms mainly occur in the shoulders, arms and hands. Early symptoms of overuse syndrome include: muscle discomfort, aches and pains, hot or cold feelings, muscles tightness and spasms, numbness and tingling.

There may be associated symptoms of tiredness, headaches, anxiety and loss of concentration. As the condition progresses the pain and discomfort may become constant, there may be a loss of muscle strength, burning sensations in the tissues, and sleep disturbances.

Many conditions fall under the category of overuse syndromes, some of these are described below: hand & wrist (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Wrist Tendonitis), elbow (Tennis Elbow, Golfers Elbow), shoulder (Impingement Syndrome), hip (Snapping Hip Syndrome, Hip Bursitis), knee & leg (Stress Fractures, Shin Splints, Chondromalacia), foot & ankle (Achilles Tendonitis, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Posterior Tibial Tendonitis).

Causes and Risk factors

Factors that can lead to OOS developing include: awkward or constricted postures, repetitive movement, prolonged muscle tension, forceful holding or movement, poor ergonomics; poor work practices eg: poor time management, poor work techniques, lack of training, psychosocial factors eg: excessive workload, deadlines, social and physical work environment.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Conservative treatment is more effective the earlier it is initiated after the onset of symptoms. Your occupational therapist may place the affected area in a splint. The splint will help to rest the painful area, promote healing, and allow non-affected joints to still function. Other conservative measures may be recommended, such as injection (by physician), contrast baths/icing, gentle exercise, and modification of activities. ...