Repetitive stress injuries are among the most common and costly work- related injury in America. Workers, regardless of age or profession, who are asked to perform the same physical tasks every day are at risk of developing repetitive stress injuries. In most cases, these injuries do not become apparent until months or years have passed and the cumulative damage that occurs requires medical intervention to treat.
Common Repetitive Stress Injuries
Repetitive stress injuries (RSI's) occur when the repeated motion of muscles, tendons, etc. cause microscopic tears in tissue. This can lead to persistent inflammation that worsens over time. Common injuries seen by work injury lawyers include:
Tendinitis - Tendinitis involves inflammation of the white, fibrous tissue of the tendons. Individuals who are tasked with lifting objects, sweeping, or operating machinery often develop tendinitis on their shoulders, elbows, or biceps.
Traumatic Bursitis - Bursitis occurs when the bursa sac becomes inflamed. While there are more than 150 bursae in the human body, the condition often develops around the elbow, knee, or hips. Individuals who operate machinery with their arms, lift heavy loads, or walk even short distances while carrying heavy loads can develop bursitis.
Spinal Injuries - Herniated discs and other forms of spinal trauma can occur in individuals who repeatedly lift heavy loads, or those who are required to sit for long periods of time.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) - CTS occurs when the median nerve is compressed at the wrist. This causes pain, a tingling sensation, and numbness. It is common within workplaces where employees type away at computers throughout the day and is estimated to affect over 8 million Americans.
Compensation and Liability for RSI's
Individuals should pay close attention to the development of any RSI's. Early awareness and treatment can reduce the long-term impact on an individual's health and career. Signs to pay particular attention to are dull, achy pains that won't go away, tingling, numbness, weakness, and loss of coordination.
Workers who suspect an RSI should seek prompt medical advice and file their workers' compensation claim as soon as possible. Because it is nearly impossible to pinpoint a precise date of injury, Illinois typically recognizes the date of diagnosis when considering the statute of limitations on this type of workers' compensation claim. A workers' compensation lawyer in Illinois can help guide the claim through the process and address any denials that may arise.