Overuse Injuries in the Workplace
Overexertion is the No. 1 cause of disabling workplace injuries, according to the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index. Overexertion injuries include those caused by putting too much stress or strain on the body. The safety index also listed repetitive stress or repetitive motion injuries as the ninth most common cause of disabling workplace injuries. Repetitive stress injuries happen when you do the same thing over and over, damaging the soft tissues, such as muscles and ligaments.
Overexertion and overuse injuries can cause serious and permanent damage to your body. Unfortunately, in many cases, it is difficult to prove the extent of this damage and to provide conclusive evidence showing that the overuse injury resulted from doing your job. This means that while workers’ compensation is supposed to cover your costs, you may face challenges in getting your benefits claim approved.
At Parsons & Associates, P.C., our experienced Atlanta workplace injury lawyers have extensive experience helping injured people get the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. Call us today to learn how we can help you.
Types of Overuse Injuries
Injuries that workers may experience are broadly divided into two types:
- Acute injuries, which result from a single traumatic event. A sprained ankle, a fractured wrist and a dislocated shoulder are examples of acute injuries that can happen as a result of a single incident.
- Overuse injuries, which happen over time as a result of many small traumas to the bones, joints, muscles, tendons and other tissue. Injuries to the Achilles tendon or the patella tendon are common examples of overuse injuries.
Overuse injuries typically develop as a result of doing a specific activity or task that puts repeated stress on the bones, muscles, ligaments or tendons. For example, if you work on an assembly line, if you spend your days typing, if you have to lift heavy boxes or stock shelves, or if you are repeatedly doing any motions over and over again at your job, this could cause damage to your body. The stress can cause the soft tissues to weaken, resulting in aches, decreased strength, decreased speed or dexterity, swelling and significant pain.
Some of the most common overuse injuries include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome – Carpal tunnel involves pressure in the median nerve, which is the nerve in the wrist that allows the hand to experience feeling and that facilitates movement in the hand. When you have carpal tunnel, you may experience symptoms including tingling, numbness and reduced strength. Permanent muscle damage in the fingers and hands can result.
- Epicondylitis – Also called tennis elbow, this condition occurs when the epicondyle becomes inflamed. Pain and limited mobility generally result.
- Tendinitis – Tendinitis refers to the inflammation or swelling of a tendon. There are multiple types of tendinitis, including swelling in the rotator cuff, swelling in the hips and swelling in the torso. You will often experience significant pain and limited mobility as symptoms of tendinitis.
- Tendinosis – Tendinosis, also called chronic tendinitis, is a chronic tendon injury that occurs as a result of damage at the cellular level of the tendon. Normally, this condition results from an injury in the connective tissue surrounding the tendon, which causes the body to increase production of tendon repair cells. When tendinosis occurs, this can increase the chances of a ruptured tendon.
- Torn meniscus – This is a knee injury that can result from overuse or stress on the body. Significant pain can result.
- Plica syndrome –Another knee injury, this condition results when the ligaments of the knee begin to thicken or fold.
- Compartment syndrome – Compartment syndrome occurs when too much pressure builds up inside of an enclosed space within the body, normally as a result of bleeding or swelling caused by an injury. The blood flow is impeded as a result of the pressure and swelling, and the condition can be life-threatening.
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) – Complex regional pain syndrome refers to chronic pain in the arm or the leg. This condition often develops after you have suffered some type of injury. CRPS results in pain far greater than would normally occur with the type of injury suffered.
- Back strains or sprains – The joints, muscles and ligaments in the back can be damaged as a result of repetitive motions, heavy lifting or twisting the body beyond a point that is healthy. This can cause significant chronic pain.
- Herniated discs – The discs are soft, spongy tissues that cushion the bones of the spine. As a result of overuse or stress, the discs can become damaged and can break open or bulge. Herniated discs are also referred to as slipped discs or ruptured discs, and they can cause significant pain.
- Bursitis – The bursa provide cushioning between the tendons, bones and muscles. They can become inflamed, causing bursitis and symptoms including pain at the site of the inflammation.
- Ganglion – This refers to swelling caused by a collection of fluid at the top of the tendons or joints in the hands, feet or wrists.
- Diffuse RSI – This is a diagnosis given when you experience pain but a physician cannot determine a specific diagnosis.
Sometimes, these repetitive stress injuries can be corrected through rest and relaxation. Physical therapy, painkillers, chiropractic care and icing of the injury may also be treatment options. In other cases, however, surgical intervention may be required, and even surgery may not be able to correct the damage done to your body and relieve the pain you are experiencing.
Contact Our Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today
When you suffer an overexertion or repetitive trauma injury, you may experience significant pain as well as many ongoing health problems that require expensive medical care and make work difficult or impossible. Georgia workers’ compensation laws make employers responsible for paying the costs of virtually all workplace injuries, including those caused by overuse or repetitive stress.
To learn more about how Parsons & Associates, P.C., can assist you after you’ve suffered an injury at work, contact us now at (770) 422-9000, or fill out our online contact form for a free and confidential claim review. We return calls within 24 hours from our offices in Atlanta and Savannah.