Question: What Are 'Repetitive Strain' Injuries (Such As Carpal Tunnel Syndrome)?
Answer: Well, repetitive strain injury refers to a broad class of injuries that come from doing a mechanical motion over and over. And the process of doing that mechanical motion can cause strain on muscles, ligaments; it can cause edema in certain areas and pressure on nerves.
And carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the repetitive strain injuries that occurs in the wrist. And the symptoms typically come on with a lot of use of the computer keyboard; that's one of the most common areas where it comes into play. There are other things that can do it; a lot of twisting and moving of the wrist can cause that same sort of symptomatology. It typically comes on with tingling, numbness, or shooting pain into the mid-fingers, the middle fingers that begin in the wrist. Tapping over the wrist itself can reproduce the pain; those are the very earliest symptoms.
When it becomes quite severe, you can get numbness that's either intermittent or even permanent. And if it goes on to be extremely severe, you can get muscle loss and wasting, but that's relatively uncommon. Most of carpal tunnel syndrome is the very minimal symptoms, very minor symptoms of numbness, that's very intermittent and positional and comes on with a lot of use of the wrists, particularly in repetitive motions like using a computer keyboard.