Repetitive Motion Injuries Causes, Systems, Prevention

Repetitive Motion Injuries Overview

Causes of Repetitive Motion Injuries

Symptoms of Repetitive Motion Injuries

Is Medical Care Is Important

Exam and Tests

Home Remedies

Medical Treatments

Additional Preventions


Repetitive Motion Injuries Overview:

The Repetitive Motion Injuries are frequent in the United States of America. It is among the most common injuries worldwide too. These disorders or injuries got worse usually because of the repetitive actions or movements of daily life.

Repetitive Motion Injuries are considered serious as these are responsible to cause more than 50 % of the athletic injuries observed by physicians. These injuries also create a huge loss of workforce by damaging the motion ability of patients. Simple activities such as jogging, scrubbing the floor or throwing a ball, can cause Repetitive Motion Injuries.

Bursitis and tendinitis are among the most frequently caused injuries resulted from the Repetitive Motion Injuries. Both disorders are difficult to diagnose as well as differentiate. Interestingly, these disorders may coexist in many cases. Let’s have details about these two disorders.

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  • In the human body, these are tendons (white fibrous tissues) connecting the muscles and bones. These tendons also allow joints to move in order to develop a range of motion. The tendons are considered very strong as these are supposed to carry the weight of linked muscles.
  • The disorder “Tendinitis” indicates a tendon with inflammation. The term “Tendinitis” has two words “Tendi” showing tendons while “nitis” showing the inflammation.
  • This disorder commonly affects the elbows, biceps, and shoulders. The most common example of this disorder is “Tennis Elbow.”
  • The frequency of this disorder is higher in males than females.
  • The site of bone insertion is the main place where inflammation occurs in most cases.
  • There are lubricating sheaths helping the tendons to run. These sheaths are present between the muscle connections. These sheaths can get inflammation. This is a medical condition and it is called tenosynovitis.

Understanding the tenosynovitis is essential while studying Repetitive Motion Injuries. Remember these points when studying it.

  • Tenosynovitis is similar to the tendinitis. These have similar causes, injury signs, and treatments.
  • The carpal tunnel syndrome is mostly caused by the inflammation of lubricating sheath (tenosynovitis) in the wrists. It is also known as Compression Nerve Disorder and it is very common. However, there are no evidencing materials available to prove a connection between this syndrome and tenosynovitis.

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Bursa is a little sac or pouch which is present between the areas where there is friction. It provides lubrication as well as cushioning of the areas between bones and tendons.

  • The inflammation of bursa pouch or sac is called bursitis.
  • There are more than 150 bursae in the human body.
  • Most of them are present at the time of birth. However, some bursae develop with the passage of time because of the Repetitive Motion or Repetitive Pressure.
  • Elbow, hips, and knees are the common target sites for bursitis.
  • Traumatic, Infectious and Gouty are some types of this disorder.
  • Traumatic bursitis occurs just because of the Repetitive Motion Injuries. This type of bursitis is common in younger people (20 to 35 years old).

Causes of Repetitive Motion Injuries:

The Repetitive Motion Injuries happen because of the tears in tissues. These tissue tears are mostly microscopic. Inflammation usually happens when the body fails to repair the tissue tears as quickly as they happen. This condition leads to the sensation of pain (mild to severe).

Causes of these injuries include:

  • Trauma.
  • Friction
  • Repetitive activity.
  • Crystal deposits. Normally happens in gout.
  • Systemic diseases such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.

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Symptoms of Repetitive Motion Injuries:

Following are the symptoms of Repetitive Motion Injuries.


It is among the most frequently observed symptoms of Repetitive Motion Injuries associated with pain in the injured site. The tendinitis will get further damages if the inflamed tendon continues to move. Patients can feel warm and red skin just above the inflamed tendon.

  • Biceps:

The groove where shoulders and arms meet becomes a painful spot. Flex the elbow at 90 degrees and it will cause severe pain. The pain will also occur if patients try to turn the palms of hands up against the resistance (supination).

  • Tennis elbow:

The pain happens in the lateral elbow. Cock the wrist back and it will cause pain. The tennis players make this posture when they are ready to hit back the tennis ball with their racket. This is simply extending the wrist.

  • Golfer’s elbow:

In this disorder, the pain happens in the medial elbow. It will get worse if patients flex their wrist forward. This type of posture is usually made by golfers while hitting the golf ball.

  • Rotator cuff:

Raise the arm to the sides and it will pain. This is because of the affected shoulder. This is the main site of pain in the rotator cuff.


Limited range of motion, tenderness, and pain are major symptoms of this disorder. The affected will show these symptoms frequently. Swelling, crunchy feeling and redness also appear when patients try to move the joints (Crepitus).

  • Knee: The condition is about mild to severe swelling in kneecap or its bottom. In most cases, it gives warm sensation and red appearance. Patients feel severe pain while trying to move or shake the legs. This is because of the swelling in the kneecap.
  • Elbow: The symptoms will be similar to the knee. However, the pain becomes unbearable when patients move or flex the arms.
  • Hip: Pain will gradually increase during active movement. Lying on the side or walking for daily activities will increase the pain. Bringing the legs to outside will also cause pain.

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Is Medical Care Is Important?

Call your doctor when you observe the given symptoms.

  • Pain while moving the legs, joints or arms.
  • Joint or tendon tenderness.
  • Warm sensation or red appearance over the joints.
  • Sudden pain irritating you during sleep.
  • Inability to complete range of motion with affected side.
  • Inability to continue your daily activities even brushing the teeth, taking shower or washing a handkerchief.

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When You Should Go To Hospital:

Certain symptoms and signs may show that a patient is infected so it is time to see a doctor. It would be better to visit the emergency room at the hospital. Seek medical attention to avoid further issues.

  • Tenderness or joint pain associated with vomiting, nausea chills, and fever.
  • More than 1 joint of the body shows pain.
  • Pain migrates from one joint to another.
  • The previous record of high-risk behavior such as sexually transmitted diseases, IV drugs utilization or unprotected sex with several partners.

Don’t wait if you face more pain and irritation in the knee or elbow joints. Immediately visit the hospital to get medical attention.

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Exam and Tests:


Physical examination and history of the patient are mostly used for the diagnosis of this disorder. In order to confirm the occurrence of disorder, imaging technology is mostly used. There are several imaging choices such as MRI for the diagnosis. This technology is very useful as it can easily identify the tears, inflammation, rupture or even small pieces of bones in the affected site. The doctors usually prefer to use the MRI when the injury is difficult to diagnose with the help of visual observations and other techniques.


The doctors usually identify the cause or history of bursitis with the help of visual observations. History or behavior changes are also discussed while checking the medical issues. The knees and elbows are at higher risk of getting infections because of the fluids originating inside the joints. It becomes important to drain these fluids from the joints in order to avoid further inflammation. Following conditions can make the higher risk for the patients.

  • Diabetes
  • Uremia
  • Chronic alcoholism.
  • Gout.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Manual labor.

Read More: How to Heal Tennis Elbow?

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Home Remedies:

Home remedies are available for the swollen and painful joints. This includes several techniques based on the recommendations given by doctors. The doctor will contract the elbow or knee in order to see the level of infection. Use of ice pack such as Coldest Ice Pack is very useful in this matter. This is excellent to minimize swelling and pain.

  • Most experts suggest the use of ice packs two or three times a day. However, the application period remains between 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Wrap the coldest ice pack around the injured elbow or knee for regular and thorough cold therapy.

Never keep the shoulders immobile for a longer period. Keeping the shoulders in inactive condition for more than 1 or 2 days may create frozen shoulders. This decreases the range of motion.

Medical Treatments:


It is always treated with the help of ice and immobilization. In the early phase, these techniques are highly useful. These are commonly used to treat Golfer’s elbow and Tennis elbow. Following techniques are also used for the treatment of tendinitis.

  • Golfer’s elbow and Tennis elbow are mostly treated by placing a band around the elbow.
  • NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are commonly recommended by doctors to reduce the level of inflammation. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are some great examples of commonly prescribed NSAIDs. It is suggested to use these medicines with milk or foods in order to prevent stomach issues.
  • If NSAID’s are not useful to treat or heal bursitis and tendinitis, then you should visit the doctor. He or she will choose steroidal injections to heal the injury. These injections are injected in the wounded area. Normally, a maximum of 3 steroidal injections is given in the same wounded area within a period of 12 months or more.
  • Begin range of motion exercises and workouts. However, choose light workouts in order to set the motion routine. You can increase the workout intensity when symptoms disappeared.
  • Remember, these techniques are not applied on infected shoulders. It is impossible to keep the shoulder immobile for a longer period. Longer immobilization results in frozen shoulders.
  • Take bath with warm water. Use physical therapies after the exact identification of the injured area.
  • Try to keep a range of motion active. The goal of all these practices is to keep your joints and muscles active for quicker healing.

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Treatments for Inflammatory Bursitis:

These are almost similar to the tendinitis. However, there are several different healing practices available for bursitis.

  • Take rest and use Ice Packs for cold therapy.
  • Try painkillers such as Capsaicin cream which is an over the counter relief product. It is easily available at the medical stores in the US. Other steroid creams can also be used to heal bursitis.
  • Take properly prescribed antibiotics if bursitis was caused by a severe infection.
  • The option of steroidal injections is useful only for inflammatory bursitis. Patients having infectious bursitis should not use these injections as these can cause susceptibility towards infection.

Additional Preventions:

Preventive measures for bursitis and tendinitis are almost similar. These include the following:

  • To keep the bursae healthy, it is essential to use warming up exercises. Also, use the cooldown maneuvers.
  • Avoid any activity that can augment the injury. It would be better to take rest until the swelling and pain are gone. Stop any physical activity which has an augmentative effect on swelling or pain.
  • Contact the occupational health manager to discuss your job responsibilities if you are a patient of repetitive motion injury. You can redesign the job requirements in order to avoid further issues.
  • Keep practicing a range of motion workouts. It is recommended to keep the joints and muscles in light motion in order to avoid swelling.
  • Use bands or splints to maintain the tendons. This will also reduce the friction while playing games. These devices are easily available at pharmacy stores in the USA.


  • Tendinitis can be controlled with proper health care and attention.
  • Majority of the reported bursitis cases heal quickly.
  • Surgical options are also very successful if all other treatments failed to heal the injury.
  • The fluid removal could be essential in case of severe bursitis infection.

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