Overuse Syndromes

Information about repetitive strain injury

MichaelSvoboda / Getty Images

Overuse syndromes, also called cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) or repetitive strain injury (RSI), are conditions characterized by chronic irritation to a body part. Many conditions fall under the category of overuse syndromes, some of these are described here:

Hand & Wrist

Overuse of the hands and wrists are common with many daily activities.  Whether we work a desk job at a computer, or are a manual laborer, our hands are doing the routine activities that we all need for most any activity.

  As a result, hand and wrist overuse syndrome are a common concern and a frequent source of pain.


The elbow joint is a complex joint that combines several different motions.  While it is a hinge that bends back and forth, it also allows 180 degrees of forearm rotation.   It is the attachment of the forearm muscles and wrist tendons that are so critical to sports and lifting activities.


No joint in the body moves through a broader range of motion than the shoulder joint.  Because of the complex movements, the should relies on ligaments, muscles, and tendons to work together to guide the joint through these motions.  As a result, overuse tendonitis of the shoulder is very common.


Hip are subjected to large forces by supporting the weight of the body, and direct pressure when sitting or sleeping.

  Overuse syndromes can cause pain with every step you take, and can slow down activities.

Knee & Leg

Knee and shin problems are frequent sources of overuse problems, especially in competitive and recreational athletes.  Sports activities place significant stress on the knees and legs.

  While most workplace problems can be relieved by rest, the only way to limit sports overuse problems is to avoid the sport.

Foot & Ankle

We take our feet for granted, until our feet begin to hurt.  Just about anything we do requires us to get from point A to point B.  Because of this, overuse problems of the feet can be significantly limiting. 

Continue Reading