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What is a repetitive stress injury?

People often think of workplace injuries as catastrophic events, like a fall off of a later or getting a limb stuck in a piece of machinery. However, even simply, everyday events can eventually lead to a repetitive stress injury.

As the name implies, this is just an injury that you get from doing the same thing repeatedly, often for hours on end. That constant motion puts extra stress on one part of your body, leading to pain, stiffness, inflammation and more.

One of the most common examples is tennis elbow. It can be very painful for tennis players, but it doesn't come after falling or diving to make a save. It just happens after hours and hours of training.

While playing tennis isn't a job for most people, the same types of injuries can crop up at work. For instance, typing for hours on end can lead to injuries to the hands and wrists. In the last few decades, as computers have dominated the workplace, these injuries have become more and more common.

One important thing to remember is that, even though simply typing on the computer doesn't seem hazardous, these aren't injuries to take lightly. They can be so bad that workers need medical treatment, special devices to prevent injury, and time off of work. Don't assume that these aren't "real" injuries just because there was no catastrophic event.

Those who are injured at work must know all of their legal rights, especially when repetitive stress injuries mean they miss shifts, lose wages and see mounting hospital bills.

Source: HealthDay, "Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI)," Paige Bierma, accessed May 19, 2017

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