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Comparative Study
, 45 (2), 97-104

What Do Doctors Mean by Tenosynovitis and Repetitive Strain Injury?

Comparative Study

What Do Doctors Mean by Tenosynovitis and Repetitive Strain Injury?

H N Diwaker et al. Occup Med (Lond).


Confusion exists in both the scientific and the lay press on the meaning of the terms tenosynovitis and repetitive strain injury. The courts are increasingly being asked to make judgements on individual cases but this gives little in the way of guidance to doctors producing reports for the Department of Social Security or solicitors. The aim of this study was to document what such doctors mean by these terms, what diagnostic criteria they use, and to make any necessary recommendations. The diagnostic criteria for DSS industrial conditions A8 (tenosynovitis) and A4 (professional cramp) varied greatly and what the experts understood by the term 'repetitive strain injury (RSI)' was so variable that the term is meaningless. Half of the doctors who responded felt that there was no genuine organic condition corresponding to their assessment of what the term means. As half of the doctors providing reports believe that 'repetitive strain injury' is not a genuine disease entity and the other half do, court cases will continue. The dilemma appears to be that completely different meanings are ascribed to the same term. Therefore, the term 'repetitive strain injury' should no longer be used.

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