Over time, repeated manual work can take its toll on the body. Performing the same task day after day can eventually lead to chronic pain that may interfere with your ability to complete your work or even perform routine daily tasks. If you have sustained a work-related repetitive motion injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to cover your injury-related costs.
Navigating the workers’ comp claims process can be difficult without the assistance of an experienced attorney. To discuss your case with a Minnesota repetitive motion injury attorney who understands the complexities of workers’ compensation law, contact Robert Wilson & Associates at (612) 334-3444.
What is a Repetitive Motion Injury?
Repetitive motion injuries are also known as repetitive stress injuries or sometimes as repetitive motion disorders (RMDs). According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, they are one of the most common injuries in the United States. A repetitive motion injury belongs to a family of muscular conditions that result from the repeated motion or overuse of a particular muscle or group of muscles. This repeated motion or overuse typically happens in the course of normal work or daily activities. While the muscles in the hands, wrists, elbows, and knees are most frequently impacted, a repetitive motion injury can also impact the neck, back, hips, legs, feet, ankles, and shoulders.
While symptoms may vary from person to person depending on the nature and site of the injury, most commonly, people suffering from repetitive motion injuries will exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
- Tenderness in the affected muscle and joint
- Aching in muscles or a nearby joint
- A throbbing sensation
- Loss of sensation
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle cramping
While the symptoms may start out as minor, they can become progressively more severe as time wears on and the motion continues. Without proper treatment, the pain and other symptoms will only continue to get worse. Over time, repetitive motion injuries can cause either temporary or even permanent damage to not only the overused muscle but also to the soft tissue, nerves, ligaments, and tendons surrounding the muscle.
Jobs Prone to Repetitive Motion Injuries
There are several lines of work that involve daily repetitive tasks and motions. These professions, in particular, are more prone to employees complaining of repetitive motion injuries:
- Meatpacking workers
- Assembly line workers
- Computer and office workers
- Physical therapists
- Massage therapists
- Professional athletes
Does Workers Compensation Cover Repetitive Motion Injuries?
If the nature of your work has led to a serious repetitive motion injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits from your employer. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry describes the state’s workers’ compensation model as a “no-fault” system that is meant to provide employees with benefits if they are injured on the job. However, many employees that file workers’ compensation claims find the process to be confusing, complicated, and filled with hoop-jumping. While workers’ compensation provided by the employer is meant to help cover medical bills, time away from work, and short or even long-term disability, many employees are often left wondering whether they are receiving the full amount of benefits that they deserve.
Yes, your repetitive motion injury may be covered by workers’ compensation, but applying for the benefits and actually receiving them are two entirely different things. Unfortunately, the overcomplicated process may mean that workers with a legitimate repetitive motion injury claim can be unfairly denied benefits. Employees may also find that their benefits are being delayed or are significantly less than they were expecting to receive.
To find out how to get the benefits you qualify for, contact the experienced legal team at Robert Wilson & Associates for help. Our skilled team can review your claim and help make sure that you are getting the benefits you are entitled to receive.
Common Repetitive Motion Injuries
Because this type of injury develops over time, it is possible for a person to go years without ever noticing the progression of a repetitive motion injury, only to wake up one day with considerable pain. Repetitive motion injuries can also be aggravated by stress, prolonged working hours, or more intensive work. Some common chronic injuries that workers experience are:
Bursitis is the medical term for an inflammation in any of the body’s sacs of synovial fluid, called the bursae. Bursae are located in areas where muscles and tendons move across the bones. When healthy, bursae sacs decrease the friction caused by movement in these areas. When the bursae become inflamed, causing bursitis, movement can become strained and painful. The most common cause of bursitis is repetitive motion and/or extreme pressure.
There are many different types of activities that can lead to inflammation of the bursae. Some of the bursitis cases that we typically handle include:
- Knee bursitis – having to work in a kneeling position (often associated with house work and/or construction)
- Wrist bursitis – performing computer work that that necessitates constant typing
- Elbow bursitis – using machines that require you put extreme pressure on your elbow joint
While these are some of the common areas where you can be affected by bursitis, this painful inflammation can also occur in shoulders, hips, and even your big toe. In some cases, the pain from the repetitive motion injury may force you to miss work in order to recover.
Tendonitis, sometimes spelled “tendinitis,” is an injury that inflames the tendons, or the tough fibers that connect muscles to bones. Often, tendonitis arises from repetitive motions that put a strain on your tendons. Once you develop this painful problem, you may have to take time away from work in order to allow your body to rest and recover.
Tendonitis can cause swelling, achiness, and tenderness in the area of the inflamed tendon. Thankfully, though, most people are able to fully recover from their tendonitis. Nonetheless, the treatment used for tendonitis can be quite extensive. Some common treatment methods include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Steroid injections
- “RICE”—Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate
- Specialized braces
- Exercise under the guidance of a physical therapist
Many of the treatment methods listed above can be costly. If you or someone you love has developed tendonitis from repetitive motions at work, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation to offset the costs associated with the injury as well as any lost wages.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common forms of repetitive injury, leaving you with severe pain in your wrists and arms. The carpal tunnel is the narrow passageway in the wrist for nerves that connect the palm to the forearm. When tissues in this area become swollen or inflamed, it constricts the median nerve, leading to tenderness and pain. Unfortunately, carpal tunnel syndrome can greatly interfere with your work, especially if your job is the cause of this condition.
Any of these injuries can be extremely painful and can interfere with all aspects of your work, possibly making it impossible for you to do your job. Fortunately, you may be eligible to claim workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical bills, lost income from time off work, physical therapy treatments, and other injury-related expenses. Our Minnesota repetitive motion injury lawyers understand how important it is for you to receive the maximum compensation for which you are eligible and we will fight on your behalf for the benefits you need.
To consult with an experienced Minnesota repetitive motion injury lawyer about your workers’ compensation claim and your legal rights, contact Robert Wilson & Associates by calling (612) 334-3444.