Repetitive stress injuries affect the nerves, muscles, ligaments, or tendons and are caused by constant use or repetitive motions. This persistent overuse of the same muscles and other structures leads to temporary or permanent injuries to that part of the body. Repetitive stress injuries frequently affect the arms, shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, fingers, and thumbs.
Repetitive stress injuries commonly affect workers who perform the same physical tasks for prolonged periods of time. These injuries impact many different types of workers and cost employers billions of dollars in lost productivity and Workers’ Compensation claims every year.
There are steps workers can take to prevent these debilitating injuries:
- Take short, frequent breaks from repetitive tasks. This is actually better than taking one long break during the workday.
- Maintain good posture when sitting, standing, and bending to reduce undue stress on certain body parts.
- Create an ergonomic workspace where everything you need is easily accessible and requires the least amount of strain.
- Stretch often throughout the day, focusing on areas of the body involved in rigorous and repetitive tasks.
- See your health care provider at the first sign of strain. Without intervention, repetitive stress injuries can worsen and become chronic conditions.
- Schedule a physical therapy screening to assess your risk of overuse injuries and to learn targeted stretches and exercises to prevent injuries and improve symptoms.
What Are Symptoms of Repetitive Stress injuries?
The goal is to prevent repetitive stress injuries before they occur. However, it is still important to recognize the signs and symptoms of overuse so you can get the necessary treatment and possibly avoid more serious complications. Repetitive injury symptoms include:
- Pain and/or stiffness.
- Numbness and/or tingling.
- Clicking or popping in the affected joint.
- Weakness or fatigue in the hands, arms, or legs.
What Are the Most Common Repetitive Stress Injuries?
Overuse injuries vary based on the motions and parts of the body stressed by repetitive motions. Here are the most common overuse conditions:
- Tendinitis: Tendinitis is inflammation of the tough, fibrous tendons that connect muscles to bones. Repetitive activities are one cause of tendonitis. This painful condition often affects the elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, and Achilles tendon. Gardeners, woodworkers, and painters who do not take precautions to prevent overuse may develop tendonitis.
- Back strains and sprains: Ligaments are fibrous bands of tissue that connect two or more bones at a joint. Because the back bears a considerable amount of the body’s weight during walking, lifting, and other activities, it is highly vulnerable to these types of injuries. In fact, after headaches, strains and sprains are the most common conditions reported to health care providers. Back strains and sprains are common among workers in construction, health care, and transportation.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common example of a repetitive stress injury, accounting for 90 percent of neuropathy diagnoses in the United States. This condition is caused by a constriction of the carpal tunnel located in the wrist that houses the median nerve. The median nerve provides movement to the forearm, wrist, and hand and transfers sensory information from the hand to the brain. As the carpal tunnel becomes restricted from injury or inflammation, the person may experience numbness, tingling, and loss of function in the hand or wrist. Heavy keyboard users, delivery drivers, cosmetologists, and carpenters are just a few of the many professions at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
I Developed a Repetitive Stress Injury. Am I Entitled to Workers’ Compensation?
With so many variable at play, it is difficult to say without a consultation with a lawyer. However, if you were hurt on the job during the course of your normal work responsibilities, you may be entitled to benefits for your medical care, lost wages, and other compensable expenses under Workers’ Compensation law.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Delaware?
If you are injured at work, you should report the injury to your employer as soon as possible and request medical attention. Failure to complete these steps can make you ineligible to collect benefits.
If your injury is not the result of a single accident or event, you must report your condition after receiving a diagnosis for a repetitive stress injury. Save all documentation related to your condition and your care. Give your employer notice of a claim for compensation for the period of disability starting from the third day following the accident or knowledge of a diagnosis.
Your employer is required to collect this information and submit a report in writing to the Office of Workers’ Compensation within 10 days. If you cannot reach an agreement and your claim is denied, you have two years from the accident or diagnosis date to file a petition. While legal representation is not required, it is beneficial for navigating the complex Workers’ Compensation system and building a strong case for benefits.
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Workers Suffering From Repetitive Stress Injuries
For decades, our Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow have been fighting for the rights of workers across the state. We oversee complex work injury cases. If you have been injured at work and need help with your claim, contact us today. Call (302) 427-9500 or complete our online form to schedule a free case review today. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.