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Overview

Repetitive motion injury is one of the most common types of injuries in the United States. They are associated with very big losses in terms of cost to the workforce and they can be triggered by jogging, scrubbing a floor, throwing a ball or any other simple, everyday action. Out of all different types of repetitive motion injuries, the most common ones include bursitis and tendinitis. These two conditions can get quite tricky as they are sometimes very hard to differentiate and in some cases they even occur simultaneously. Bursitis is an inflammatory condition of a bursa sac. For those who do not know, bursa is a small sac which has a main purpose of lubricating and reducing the friction in all the areas of the human body between the bones and tendons. In total, there are more than 150 such sacs in the human body. Some of them are there since the birth of a person, but some of them tend to develop later on in places exposed to repetitive and constant pressure. The most common places for bursitis include the hip, the knees and the elbow. There are three main types of bursitis and those include gouty bursitis, traumatic bursitis and infectious bursitis. There are certain types of medical conditions which are commonly associated with a much higher risk of infectious bursitis and those include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, manual labor, gout, uremia, diabetes and chronic alcoholism. Traumatic bursitis is the one commonly associated with different types of repetitive motion injuries. Infectious bursitis may require fluid drainage from the affected joints.  Tendinitis is the inflammatory condition which affects the tendon. For those who do not know, tendons are portions of fibrous tissue whose main purpose is to connect the bones and muscles and allow the joints proper range of movement. Tendonitis usually occurs in the elbow, the biceps and the shoulder. It is an interesting fact that tendonitis commonly occurs in men much more often than it does in women.

How Do Repetitive Motion Injuries Occur?

All different types of repetitive motion injuries are associated with microscopic tears in the affected tissues. When those tears cannot be repaired on time, the inflammatory conditions occur and they are always accompanied by painful sensations. The most common causes of repetitive motion injuries include friction, crystal deposits, trauma, repetitive activity and systemic diseases such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms

The symptoms of the two most common types of repetitive motion injuries are already described above. When the hip is affected the pain is commonly increased by lying on the affected side or by walking. When the knees are affected by repetitive motion injuries they are commonly swollen, characterized by redness and extreme tenderness to touch. The range of motion is also commonly significantly decreased. When the rotator cuff is affected by repetitive motion injuries, the pain over the affected shoulder is usually triggered by raising the affected arm. One of the types of repetitive motion injuries is referred to as golfer’s elbow and it is characterized by painful sensations in the elbow which are commonly aggravated by flexing the wrist forward. A similar type of repetitive motion injury is called tennis elbow and it involves painful sensations triggered by extension of the wrist.  Biceps may also be affected by the repetitive motion injury.

What Is the Best Treatment for Repetitive Motion Injuries?

Fortunately enough, most cases of repetitive motion injuries can be treated using certain methods. Some of them can even be taken care of at the convenience of one’s own home. The swollen and affected joint needs to be elevated and it should not be moved until one contacts a doctor and asks for further instructions. The painful sensations and swelling which are commonly associated with repetitive motion injuries may be relieved to a certain extent by using ice on the affected areas. The ice needs to be placed in a bag or a towel before being applied to the skin. Those who suffer from tendinitis need to immobilize the affected body parts during the initial phases of treatment. Heat application may be of great help in such cases. Those who suffer from golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow need to place a supporting band or brace around the affected elbow. Inflammatory conditions which are present in most cases of repetitive motion injuries can be relieved by using certain types of nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin. One should never take these medications on an empty stomach because they may trigger certain stomach problems. Some cases of bursitis and tendonitis may require injections of steroids applied directly into the area which is inflamed and affects the joint. Certain specially designed exercises can be of great help in some cases. Infectious bursitis needs to be treated with certain types of antibiotics. 

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