Repetitive Strain Injury

And How to Prevent It

What is RSI?

RSI - or repetitive strain injury - is injury to tendons, nerves, muscles, and other soft body tissues caused by constant stress to a certain area. It can happen in joints used often - for example, a runner's knees, or a secretary's wrists. For this workplace, the most common areas for RSI will be wrists, neck, and back.


The symptoms of RSI include tightness, pain, stiffness, soreness, burning, tingling, coldness and numbness. You probably have experienced these, when typing for a long time, wearing tight shoes or skates, or working out.


Here are some things to keep in check while at your workplace.


  • Be sure your elbows and forearms sit at a 90° angle.
  • Your keyboard should be about 28" from the ground. If you have to reach up or down, try adjusting it's height.
  • Arm rests are recommended, to prevent tiredness in the arms.
  • Your knees should have room and should not be squished against your body.

If all this is done correctly, your knees should be slightly higher than your hips (don't make it look weird), and your forearms should be horizontal.


  • The monitor should be directly in front of you.
  • The top of the monitor should be resting at eye level.
  • Try to minimize glare by adjusting the monitor.


  • A backrest is recommended. Your back should be slightly resting on it.
  • Be sure you aren't sitting on the edge of your chair.


  • The monitor should be perpendicular to the window in your office.
  • Light diffusers are recommended to lower intensity.
  • A specific light of where you work is recommended over general area lighting.
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Note: As seen above, a footrest comes in handy when you need to get the right height. Try your best to look like her (sitting position wise - don't actually style yourself after her).


Here are some exercises or stretches you can do to be as RSI-free as possible.

Look around

  • Focus your eyes on a distant object for a few seconds, to relieve some tension.
  • Rotate your neck slowly.
  • Do chin tucks; make your chin touch your chest, and repeat.


  • Grab your head with one arm and carefully pull it sideways. This stretches both your neck and shoulders.
  • Put both hands behind your neck and extend your chest.
  • Rotate and stretch your wrist and fingers.

Below is a video to help you visualize some exercises above.

How To Do RSI Prevention Exercises

Having Problems?

Q: My desk isn't high enough for my keyboard!

A: Request a new desk, or use objects to raise it.

Q: I'm following this guide, and I'm still getting RSI!

A: Go see a doctor.

Q: I can never keep my posture the same! Help!

A: Practice. Check posture often, or set a reminder on your computer or phone.