South Florida Repetitive Trauma Injuries
When people hear the term work injuries, their minds usually go to injuries caused by slips, trips, falls, machinery and equipment accidents, vehicle crashes, and other isolated incidents. But it is very common for workers to sustain injuries that develop gradually because of repetitive motions or overusing certain joints they need to do their jobs—from punching on the keyboard the entire workday to scanning items at the checkout counter and holding a jackhammer to hammering nails, among many other repetitive on-the-job motions.
These injuries are called repetitive trauma injuries, commonly known as repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) or repetitive strain injuries. Fortunately, workers who develop repetitive trauma injuries can seek workers’ comp benefits if they are able to prove that they developed their injury because of their work.
What Exactly Are Repetitive Trauma Injuries?
Repetitive trauma injuries develop because of the gradual buildup of damage to your nerves, tendons, muscles, and ligaments from repetitive motions. They commonly impact the wrists, forearms, hands, shoulders, neck, and back. Common examples include the following:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – This occurs when a nerve in your wrist gets compressed and causes weakness in the affected hand and numbness in most fingers.
- Bursitis – This happens when the bursa, which are fluid-filled cushions in your joints, become inflamed.
- Trigger Finger – This develops when the tendon sheaths in your fingers get inflamed and causes your fingers to become stuck when you make a fist.
- Tennis Elbow – Also called lateral epicondylitis, this occurs when the tendons that attach the outside portion of your elbow to your forearm muscles become inflamed or develop small tears.
- Back Injuries – Tension and stiffness in the shoulders and neck can cause upper back pain that can radiate down the entire back and even down to the legs.
What Are The Risk Factors and Causes of Repetitive Trauma Injuries?
Repetitive trauma injuries can result from:
- Repetitive tasks or motions
- Forceful exertion
- Heavy lifting
- Awkward positions
- Incorrect postures
- Contact stress, like resting the wrists at the edge of a desk
- Muscle fatigue
- Vibration from power tools
- Inadequate rest and recovery time between tasks
Repetitive trauma injuries are usually associated with prolonged computer use. So, it’s not surprising that computer-related RSIs are widespread because a lot of jobs require the use of keyboards, mouse devices, or touchscreens. But they can also develop from a broad range of other work duties that require frequent carrying and lifting, repeated micro-motions, holding awkward positions, and using vibrating equipment.
Aside from the various jobs that involve prolonged computer use, the following are jobs that have an increased risk of developing RSIs:
- Housekeeping cleaners and janitors
- Truck, bus, and other commercial transport drivers
- Health care aides
- Delivery workers
- Stock and grocery clerks
- Pipefitters and plumbers
- Meat processing and agricultural workers
- Professional athletes
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Repetitive Trauma Injuries
You must file a workers’ comp claim to initiate your case officially. While workers’ compensation generally covers repetitive trauma injuries, you must have solid evidence to back up your claim. You must prove that your on-the-job repetitive motions directly resulted in your injury or illness and that you were subjected to adequate exposure to the cause. You must also prove that your work injuries resulted from your work duties and not from other activities in your daily life.
Get In Touch With an Experienced South Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorney Now
If you’re unsure how to go about filing a workers’ compensation claim or if your employer denies your claim, contact the South Florida workers’ compensation attorneys at Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Sosa. Call 866-640-7117 or send us an online message to schedule your free consultation with our South Florida workers’ compensation attorney.
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