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Common Musculo-Skeletal Disorders


Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs) are among the most common disorders to be considered in designing workcells and work stations.  Here are the most common WMSDs, symptoms and risk factors. See also our Biomechanics page.

Other Terms for WMSD
  • Repetitive motion injuries

  • Repetitive strain injuries

  • Cumulative trauma disorders

  • Overuse syndrome

  • Soft tissue disorders


Occupational risk factors



  • Repetitive wrist motions

  • Repetitive shoulder motions

  • Sustained hyper extension of arms

  • Prolonged load on shoulders

  • Pain, weakness, swelling, burning sensation or dull ache over affected area

Epicondylitis (elbow tendonitis)

  • Repeated or forceful rotation of the forearm and bending of the wrist at the same time

  • Same symptoms as tendonitis

Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Repetitive wrist motions

  • Pain, numbness, tingling, burning sensations, wasting of muscles at base of thumb, dry palm

DeQuervain's disease

  • Repetitive hand twisting and forceful gripping

  • Pain at the base of thumb

Thoracic outlet syndrome

  • Prolonged shoulder flexion

  • Extending arms above shoulder height

  • Carrying loads on the shoulder

  • Pain, numbness, swelling of the hands

Tension neck syndrome

  • Prolonged restricted posture

  • Pain

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