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About Ergonomics » What You Should Know
  1. What are RSI, CTD, RMI and MSD?

RSI (repetitive strain injury), CTD (cumulative trauma disorder) and RMI (repetitive motion injury) and MSD (musculoskeletal disorder) are used interchangeably and are defined as the wear and tear on the tendons, muscles, and sensitive nerve tissue caused by continuous use over an extended period of time.

  1. What are some of the warning signs?
  • Pain
  • Fatigue or lack of endurance
  • Weakness in the hands and forearms
  • Tingling, numbness, or loss of sensation
  • Heaviness
  • Clumsiness
  • Difficulty opening and closing hands, stiffness
  • Difficulty using hands
  • Lack of control or coordination in hands
  • Cold hands
  • Hypersensitivity

  1. What are common contributing factors?

  • Working with bent or flexed wrists
  • Repetitive hand, arm and shoulder motions
  • Extended arm reach
  • Long periods in a fixed position
  • Working with your neck bent forward at greater than 15 degrees
  • Incorrect lighting levels for the task being performed
  • Excessive pinch grips from use of writing instruments

  1. What are the causes?

  • Repetition of tasks
  • Awkward, static or constrained postures
  • Excessive pressure on muscles and joints
  • Lack of adequate rest breaks or time for soft tissue recovery
  • Stress

  1. What can be done to prevent RSI, CTD, RMI or MSD?

  • An easily adjustable chair that allows a neutral body position
  • A keyboard and mouse height that allows the arms to form a 90 degree angle at the elbows, and the wrists straight and parallel to the floor.
  • The top of the monitor at or slightly below eye level and positioned 18"-28" from the eyes.
  • Position the hard copy at the same height and distance from the screen or in-line to the monitor.
  • Position frequently used items within an arms reach
  • Avoid cradling the telephone receiver between the head and shoulder. Consider the use of a telephone headset or speakerphone.
  • Prevent glare and reflection on the computer monitor
  • Alternate tasks periodically to allow varied body positions
  • Take periodic rest and stretching breaks





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