There is no fundamental event that usually leads to RSI. Instead, the disorder is often the end result of months of subtle exertion mild impact repetitive task involving the hand, wrist, and finger muscles.
Interestingly, Type-A personalities and individuals characterized as “perfectionists” tend to come down with repetitive strain injury with a higher incidence that the overall population. Since they are so driven to perform, their non-functioning hands tend to cause more psychological stress, which is itself, ironically, a serious contributor to carpal tunnel syndrome, a common form of RSI.
Usually repetitive stress sufferers find themselves in a vicious cycle of one kind or another, which brings on the syndrome.
One of the frustrating things about enduring chronic hand pain is that friends, co-workers, and family members may not recognize the extent to which a person has been injured. Until one has experienced a repetitive stress disorder, it is hard to imagine that such low impact tasks could result in such chronic dysfunction.
This misunderstanding by bosses, friends and family also adds to the psychological stress and actually contributes to the cycle of pain.