What is it?

Cumulative Trauma disorders are disorders of the musculo-skeletal and nervous systems. CTDs, also referred to as Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI), can occur in many parts of the body, such as wrists, elbows, shoulders, back, neck, hips, knees and ankles.

Causes Cumulative Trauma Disorders may be caused or aggravated by impact and vibration from power tools, repetitive motions, forceful exertions, mechanical compression, sustained activities in awkward positions, over extension and over flexion of the wrist and/or use of hands as tools. Factors such as exposure to cold temperatures, genetic predisposition, stress and smoking may cause the discomfort to occur sooner.


  • Muscle tightness, discomfort, stiffness or pain
  • Clumsiness or loss of strength and coordination
  • Tingling, coldness or numbness 
  • Bruising in the affected area


There are several things we can do to minimize exposure to cumulative trauma injuries. Decreasing vibration and impact to the hand; maintaining neutral range of motion for the wrist; keeping hands warm; modifying or adjusting a workstation, rotating activities; maintaining tools and using appropriate tools instead of your hand; exercising regularly; and utilizing Personal Protective Equipment.


  • Initially splints may be recommended to protect sore areas
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs are often used in conjunction with ultrasound, cold packs or electrical stimulation
  • Exercises may be suggested to help tissues move safely while healing
  • Rest and Relaxation and in some cases surgery may be recommended