What Are Repetitive Stress Injuries?

Repetitive stress injuries, known as overuse syndromes, are persistent or recurrent musculoskeletal pain. There is no history of trauma experienced in the previous 6 weeks that has led to the injury.

Repeated and accumulation of microtrauma to the muscles, joints, nerves, ligaments, and tendons can cause repetitive stress injuries. Over time, these structures can become overloaded and break down. The body may not have adequate time to heal and recover, and as a result, injuries occur. Left untreated, these injuries will limit your function and cause you distress.

Risk Factors For Repetitive Stress Injuries

Those who have diabetes, gout, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and tuberculosis have a higher risk of developing repetitive stress injuries.

How Are Repetitive Stress Injuries Diagnosed?

The diagnosis is usually straightforward and can be done by our registered Physiotherapists. We will look at the clinical presentation and take a history of your condition. Then we will conduct a comprehensive physical exam to determine if it is an overuse injury. We may also refer to other medical specialists for further imaging and consultation.

Common Conditions

tennis elbowTennis Elbow – No you don’t have to play tennis to get a tennis elbow! This condition is commonly seen in practice and most of our patients do not play tennis. Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a repetitive stress injury of the wrist extensor tendon. Its attachment, the lateral epicondyle, may also be inflamed and stressed.

Extending the wrist and fingers repeatedly (ex. typing, piano playing), gripping (ex. playing racquet sports, chopping vegetables, lifting pots and pans) can result in this condition.


De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis can occur in those who play golf, piano, and keyboarding. It is often seen in parents (usually moms) who may carry a child with their hands for a longer period of time. There can be tenderness and swelling near the base of the thumb. Inflammation of the abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis tendon can occur. Pain will be felt with pinching, grasping, and general movement of the thumb.


Plantar Fasciitis can cause pain in the arches and heel of the foot. It is an overuse injury to the plantar fascia, located in the bottom of the foot. It can be caused by poor footwear, being overweight, and excessive walking and running.


Achilles tendonitis occurs in walkers and runners where there is a repeated load to the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon comes from the major calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) and inserts onto the heel bone (calcaneus). Repeated pushing off the foot like walking, running, and jumping can stress the Achilles tendon. Microtears in the tendon can result in inflammation (tendonitis) or no inflammation (tendinosis)

Shin Splints are lower leg pain that occurs in the inside (medial) or outside (lateral) part of the leg. This overuse injury occurs with repeated stress of the muscles and their attachment (tibia). Worse case scenarios are stress fractures of the tibia, where the bone starts to crack. This condition can be found in dancers and runners. Risk factors include those with tight calves, overpronation, wearing poor footwear, overtraining, and running on hard and sloping surfaces.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is affected by repeated and/or sustained pressure on the median nerve at the wrist area. Symptoms may vary with each person and you may feel numbness, pain, and tingling in the fingers (middle 3 fingers). Activities such as typing (with pressure on the wrist), manual labor, extended positions of wrist flexion and extension, and vibration can cause and exacerbate this condition.

How Can Our Physiotherapy in Burnaby Help? What Can You Expect?

Our Registered Physiotherapists have helped many patients suffering from repetitive stress injuries.


Our Initial Physiotherapy consultation will involve taking the history of your condition. A comprehensive physical assessment will be performed to diagnose and plan to treat and manage your condition.


Our EastWest Physiotherapy philosophy of treatment combines a variety of Eastern and Western techniques to help optimize your recovery.

Repetitive stress injuries can be resolved with proper treatment from our  Physiotherapists. Prompt interventions can make a huge difference in reducing recovery time and pain.

Book an appointment at our Burnaby Physiotherapy clinic and start your road to recovery now!

Call 604 398 2936 and speak to any of our staff to learn more or schedule an appointment.
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