As the name suggests, repetitive motion injuries occur when a person repeatedly performs a certain physical task, leading to chronic pain, swelling, and weakness. The repeated task doesn't necessarily have to be strenuous, such as lifting heavy boxes. Even something as mundane as typing can lead to a repetitive motion injury. In fact, carpal tunnel syndrome, a nerve condition involving discomfort and weakness in the fingers or wrists, often stems from excessive computer use.
Types of Repetitive Motion Injuries
According to WebMD, the most common repetitive motion injuries include tendinitis and bursitis:
Tendinitis involves inflammation of a tendon, often at the shoulder or elbow. Tennis elbow is a common example of this condition, and you don't have to be a tennis player, or even an athlete, to develop it. Occupations like plumbing, cooking, and carpentry require workers to perform repetitive arm movements that could also eventually lead to this condition.
Bursitis involves inflammation of a bursa sac. Throughout the body, these sacs have a primary purpose of reducing friction between bones, tendons, and other tissues. Bursitis is especially common near the hip, knee, or elbow, so pay close attention to those areas while performing repetitive tasks.
Repetitive Motion Injuries in the Workplace
To help protect yourself from these types of injuries at work, you'll want to make a few changes to maximize your physical comfort. For example, if your desk is too short or tall, forcing you to hunch your back or extend your neck, ask your employer for a more accommodating workspace. In addition, whether you're constantly typing or hauling inventory, remember to take breaks to stretch your muscles and check your posture.
WebMD states that injuries stemming from repetitive movement are among the most common injuries in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, they're also a common reason for employees to pursue workers' compensation. When seeking compensation from your employer, rely on a professional attorney to guide you through the process and help build your case.