What is overuse syndrome?

Overuse syndrome is another term for a repetitive motion disorder. It mainly affects those who repeat certain motions over and over again during their daily activities. If you’re suffering from overuse syndrome, it will most likely affect your hands and/or arms before any other parts of the body.

How can I recognize early signs of overuse syndrome in hands and arms?

Performing repetitive tasks that involve your hands and arms is the main cause of this disorder. There are certain jobs and activities that can cause overuse syndrome, including:

  • Working on an assembly line.
  • Sewing.
  • Playing a musical instrument.
  • Working on the computer.

All of these jobs and activities can put a lot of repeated stress on your hands and arms. When you push these body parts to their limit, it often results in overuse syndrome.

What are the symptoms of overuse syndrome?

At the beginning, your arms and hands will just feel tired and fatigued, which you may think is normal. Then, you may begin to feel musculoskeletal pain, meaning pain in your muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons and nerves. If it continues to get worse, you could be dealing with microtrauma, which occurs when small parts of your soft tissue begin to tear. Eventually, your muscles and tissues will experience more and more trauma, resulting in pain and loss of use.

Other common symptoms include:

  • Swelling.
  • Numbness.
  • Gradual loss of the ability to move your hands and/or arms like you once could.

Can overuse syndrome cause arthritis?

There’s no known link between this condition and arthritis, though overuse syndrome can lead to some other ailments, including:

  • Tendinitis.
  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis (irritation in the wrist and thumb tendons).
  • Stenosing tenosynovitis (swollen flexor tendons).
  • Capsulitis (inflamed ligaments).
  • A muscle or tendon strain.

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