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Repetitive Motion Injuries

Repetitive motions can cause a variety of disorders that affect nerves, tendons, and muscles. Symptoms can include tingling or numbness in the fingers or hands, decreased range of motion, decreased grip strength, sleep interrupted by numbness or discomfort in the hands, pain in fingers, hands, or wrist, or pain shooting up into the forearms or arms.

Some common afflictions that could affect laboratory workers due to the nature of their jobs are listed in the table below.




Carpal tunnel syndrome Pain that radiates up the arm, numbness or tingling in the thumb, index, or middle finger and weakness in the wrist and hand Compression of the median nerve that runs from the forearm into the hand
Thoracic outlet syndrome Numbness and tingling in the hand, intensified with overhead activities

Compression of the nerves and blood vessels between the neck and shoulder

Radial tunnel syndrome Elbow pain, pain near the base of thumb, or pain anywhere in between. A common symptom is wrist weakness. Compression or entrapment of the radial nerve; may be caused by repetitive wrist and finger extension or repetitive forearm turning.


Stiffness, tightness, and burning sensation; may experience a deep nonspecific pain. Grip impairment.

Occurs most often in the tendons of the fingers, thumb, forearm, elbow, and shoulder.

Repetitive motions or maintaining an awkward position that stresses tendons beyond their strength. Friction from overuse can cause inflammation.


Pain, swelling, difficulty moving the joint in the affected area

Inflammation of the tendon sheath