A repetitive motion injury – also called repetitive strain injury, or repetitive stress injury – is the most common complaint among workers in nearly every occupation. Repetitive motion injuries can impact the muscles, ligaments, and nerves in various parts of the body.

Almost anyone can suffer from a repetitive motion injury, but some workers are more likely than others to develop them.

The following occupations are more likely to report repetitive motion injuries:

Anyone who works a job that requires consistent or repetitive movements, lifting heavy objects, or working with equipment is susceptible to a repetitive motion injury.


Repetitive motion injuries are painful and uncomfortable, and can lead to serious illness.

The most commonly reported injuries or illnesses include:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – The most common repetitive motion injury, resulting in approximately 260,000 surgeries per year. About 47% of these injuries are work related. Carpal Tunnel occurs when the nerves in the forearm and hand are compressed due to inflamed tendons and ligaments. It can be very painful, causing limited movement, numbness, or total loss of function.

  • Tendonitis – It is common in the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Inflammation of the tendons causes pain and limited mobility.

  • Bursitis – Bursitis can occur in any of the 150 bursa located in the body. The inflammation causes pain and swelling, discomfort, and limited mobility.


Repetitive motion injuries can cause pain and discomfort in different parts of the body without being diagnosed as one of the conditions listed above. Pain, numbness, and tingling can occur in any part of the body that is inflamed, compressed, or strained.

What to Do after a Repetitive Motion Injury

If you have warning signs of a repetitive motion injury – pain, numbness, tingling, or loss of function – contact your healthcare provider. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent further injuries in the future.

If your injury is the result of your occupation, you may also find it helpful to contact a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss whether you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits related to your injury.