Symptoms of repetitive strain injury (RSI) 

The symptoms of repetitive strain injury (RSI) usually develop gradually. They can range from mild to severe.

Symptoms can vary, but often include:

  • pain, aching or tenderness
  • stiffness
  • throbbing
  • tingling or numbness
  • weakness
  • cramp

At first, you might only notice symptoms when you are carrying out a particular repetitive action, for example when you are at work. When you have finished work and are resting, your symptoms may improve. This is the first stage of symptoms and may last for several weeks or longer.

If nothing is done about them, the symptoms of RSI are likely to get worse and cause longer periods of pain. You may also get swelling in the affected area, which can last for several months.

Without treatment, the symptoms of RSI can become constant. At this stage the condition may be irreversible.

What to do if you think you have RSI

If you develop these symptoms and you think it may be related to your job, speak to your employer or occupational health representative about your concerns and ways you could modify your tasks to relieve the symptoms.

See your GP if symptoms persist despite attempts to alter how you work.

Read more about diagnosing RSI and treating RSI.

Page last reviewed: 17/12/2013

Next review due: 17/12/2015