Repetitive stress injuries are a danger in many different work settings, and one of the most common types of repetitive stress injuries is tendonitis. It can cause a worker to suffer with chronic pain and limitations in his ability to move the affected area. Fortunately, employees who suffer with tendonitis may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits while they are receiving medical treatments and off work recovering.
Which Workers Are at Risk of Developing Tendonitis?
Tendons play the important role of connecting muscles to bones. When tendons become inflamed or irritated, the condition is known as tendonitis. While this condition can affect any tendon in the body, it is most common in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and heels. It is caused by the overuse or overexertion of a certain body part or working in awkward positions over a period of time. This can cause pain and tenderness that gets worse as the use of the injured tendons continues. Because so many workers perform repetitive movements, overexert themselves, or work in awkward positions, tendonitis can affect them in many different industries. Some workers in danger of suffering with this injury include:
- Nursing home employees
- Factory workers
- Construction workers
- Office and other clerical workers
- Workers who use a computer for extended periods of time
- Workers in manufacturing industries
- Public utility workers
- Employees in the transportation industry
- Workers involved in retail trades
What Are the Treatments Workers Need for Tendonitis?
Symptoms of tendonitis include an ache when the injured tendons are used, swelling, and tenderness. Because the condition worsens with use, a person who develops tendonitis will often need to be off work while he recovers from his injuries. The goal is to reduce the pain and the inflammation of the tendons. A combination of the following treatments may be needed to treat the condition:
- Ice and rest. In mild cases of tendonitis, icing the inflamed area and resting it may be sufficient to allow the tendons to heal. Resting the injured body part is an important part of a worker’s treatment.
- Over-the-counter medications. Pain relievers, such as naproxen sodium, ibuprofen, and other over-the-counter pain medications may be prescribed to manage the pain. Topical creams containing pain medication are another option to avoid the side effects of oral pain medications.
- Corticosteroids. A doctor will sometimes inject a corticosteroid medication into the injured tendon to reduce the inflammation and pain. However, this treatment is generally not given to patients who suffer with tendonitis for longer than three months as it can cause the tendons to weaken and increase the risk that a tendon will rupture.
- Platelet-rich plasma. When the tendonitis is chronic, platelet-rich plasma treatment may be recommended. This is a newer treatment which is showing some beneficial results. It involves taking a sample of the person’s blood and separating out the platelet-rich plasma, which is injected into the injured tendon,
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy may be prescribed to strengthen and stretch the affected tendons.
- Surgery. If the injury is chronic or the tendon has torn away from the bone, a worker may need surgery to repair the damage.
It is important that workers take tendonitis seriously and do not try to “tough it out” while continuing to over use or over exert the injured tendon. This will only make the condition worse. If left untreated, tendonitis can cause the tendon to rupture, which is a more serious condition requiring surgery. Another complication is degeneration of the tendon and abnormal blood vessel development.
How Can Workers’ Compensation Help If a Worker Suffers With Tendonitis?
Workers suffering with tendonitis may need to take off work for weeks, months, or even longer while they recover from their injury. Often less invasive treatments, such as pain medications, rest, and physical therapy, will be utilized for extended periods of time before a doctor makes a decision that surgery is required. Workers’ compensation benefits can help pay for the necessary medical care and to replace a worker’s lost wages so he can take the time off work he needs to allow his tendons to heal. If he suffered a partial or permanent disability, an employee may be entitled to additional workers’ compensation benefits to compensate him for his disability.
Unfortunately, it may not be easy to obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve if you suffer with tendonitis unless you have the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. If you need assistance with your claim for workers’ compensation benefits, call our office today to schedule a free consultation to explore your legal options.