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"Can my repetitive strain injury be treated with arthroscopy?"


I am a 29 year old office worker with a repetitive strain injury who just learned about arthroscopy procedures. Could this help? My arm really hurts after half an hour or so of typing.


Office work can definitely cause repetitive strain injuries in specific joints, often the wrist. Determining whether or not surgical intervention may be helpful for you depends on being evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon. If you have not yet seen an orthopedist, your primary care physician should be able to help you get a referral.

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Repetitive strain injuries can be challenging to treat, particularly if the person suffering from them needs to go back to the activity that caused the problem to begin with. In some cases surgery can help, but as with any other condition, surgical intervention is not something to jump to immediately because it carries its own risks, including the possibility of making chronic pain worse rather than better. An evaluation with an orthopedist can help determine whether or not the pain you experience is reproducible with certain kinds of activities. Your doctor may want to order imaging studies to get a sense of whether surgery may help you or not. He or she may also send you to physical therapy or suggest a trial of braces or ergonomic changes to your work environment to see if this helps. Other options like steroid injections or anti-inflammatory medications may also help treat your symptoms such that you don't need surgery. However, if surgery does become a reasonable option, an orthopedist can discuss those risks and benefits with you as well.

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