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Cumulative Trauma Disorder

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Definition: A cumulative trauma disorder is a disorder that can affect bones, muscles, tendons, nerves and other anatomical features. It develops when micro traumas, or minute injuries, occur repeatedly from over use or misappropriate use of a body part or external force applied to the body.

Cumulative trauma may also be a combination of major and micro traumas. A large trauma may weaken the body so that micro trauma does more damage. Or the opposite may occur where micro traumas has weakened the body to a point where a larger trauma does more damage than it would have on a healthy body.

Trauma occurs when the body part is called on to work harder, stretch farther, impact more directly or otherwise function at a greater level then it is prepared for. The immediate impact may be minute, but when it occurs repeatedly the constant trauma cause damage.

External factors may apply cumulative trauma as well. Irritation, inflammation, chemical exposure and other environmental factors can cause major and micro traumas.

Also Known As: CTD, Repetitive Stress Injury, Repetitive Stress Disorders, Repetitive Strain Injuries or Disorders, Repetitive Motion Injuries or Disorders, Overuse Syndromes, Musculoskeletal Disorders
Examples:
Tendonitis is a common cumulative trauma disorder. Repetitive sliding of the tendon over a bone causes minor irritation and inflammation. Over time those micro traumas cause serious pain and injury.

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