Repeatedly performing the same task can result in a number of work-related injuries over a period of time.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common repetitive stress injury that is linked with the overuse of the wrist. There are many types of repetitive stress injuries and workers ranging from baggage handlers and nurses to retail workers are prone to these injuries. (Be informed – Receiving Workers Comp for Repetitive Stress Injuries)
Serious Injury Develops Over Time
Small injuries can worsen over time and turn into something more serious that requires medical attention and time off work. Repetitive stress injuries include more than 100 different types of conditions and injuries and are primarily caused by the wear and tear of a body part over time.
Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) are also known as continuous motion injuries and are caused by repetitive stress and strain to muscles, ligaments, spinal discs, nerves, and tendons. A worker suffering from an RSI will experience recurring and continuous pain in the hands, neck, wrists, back, shoulders, and lower limbs. Any worker can develop an RSI when his or her job involves repetitive motion of a set of muscles. A worker who performs the following activities every day are more prone to developing RSIs.
- computer typing and mouse use
- moving heavy objects
- digging and landscaping
- lifting hospital patients
- stocking inventory
- using machinery and power tools
- standing in the same position
- lifting heavy weight
Common Repetitive Stress Injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: Damage to a specific nerve in the wrist causing pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the fingers and hand. This injury is commonly reported in jobs that require prolonged joystick or computer use.
- Tearing and irritation of the tendons: Associated with overuse or over-stretching specific muscles.
- Irritation and inflammation of a bursa: A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that provides cushion to a joint. It causes pain and swelling in the affected joint and this condition is common in workers that have to constantly reach overhead or carry heavy items.
- Patellofemoral syndrome: A condition characterized by the weakening of kneecap cartilage caused by squatting, climbing, or kneeling.
- Stress fractures: Repetitive and rhythmic actions such as jumping, walking, or running can cause minute bone cracks.
- Epicondylitis: Commonly known as tennis elbow, this condition causes pain and swelling in the elbow and is caused by joint strain and overuse.
Symptoms of Repetitive Stress Injuries
Each RSI has a unique set of symptoms; however, common symptoms that may indicate an RSI are:
- joint or muscle weakness
- tingling or numbness
- lack of endurance
- coldness in the hands that will not go away
- adopting “awkward” posture to make common actions more comfortable
- using your non-dominant hand to avoid pain in your dominant hand
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Repetitive stress injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. However, it can be difficult to prove that the injury is work-related and not a result of normal wear and tear. Speak to a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer for legal help. Call Willens Law Offices at (312) 957-4166 for a free consultation.