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When it comes to work injuries, not all harm is immediate or obvious. Repetitive trauma work injuries, also known as cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) or repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), are a class of injuries that develop gradually over time due to repetitive motions, overexertion, or poor ergonomics in the workplace. While these injuries may not be as readily apparent as acute injuries like fractures or lacerations, they can cause significant pain and disability if left untreated.

What Are Repetitive Trauma Work Injuries?

Repetitive trauma work injuries are conditions that result from repetitive or forceful movements, awkward postures, or prolonged periods of exertion in the workplace.

Unlike acute injuries, which occur suddenly and are often immediately noticeable, repetitive trauma injuries develop gradually over time, as the repeated stress on muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves leads to tissue damage and inflammation.

How Do Repetitive Trauma Work Injuries Occur?

These injuries can occur in a wide range of occupations and industries, from manufacturing and construction to office work and healthcare.

Tasks that involve repetitive motions, such as typing, lifting, assembly line work, or operating heavy machinery, are common culprits. Poor ergonomics, inadequate rest breaks, and high levels of job-related stress can exacerbate the risk of developing these injuries.

Common Types of Repetitive Trauma Work Injuries

While there are many kinds of repetitive trauma injuries that can occur as a result of one’s occupation, a few types of these injuries occur more commonly than others.

Here are a few common types of injuries to consider:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most well-known repetitive trauma work injuries, particularly among office workers who spend long hours typing on keyboards. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs through the wrist, becomes compressed due to repetitive motions, leading to symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and fingers.
  • Tendonitis: Tendonitis involves inflammation of the tendons, which connect muscles to bones. It can occur in various parts of the body, including the wrists, elbows, shoulders, and knees, depending on the nature of the repetitive movements performed in the workplace. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, and limited range of motion.
  • Epicondylitis: Epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow or golfer's elbow, is a type of tendonitis that affects the tendons in the elbow. It typically develops because of repetitive gripping, lifting, or twisting motions, leading to pain and tenderness on the outside (tennis elbow) or inside (golfer's elbow) of the elbow joint.
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries: Jobs that require frequent overhead reaching or lifting, such as construction or painting, can contribute to rotator cuff injuries. These injuries involve damage to the muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint, causing pain, weakness, and limited mobility.

If you are affected by one of more of these conditions, you may wish to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer. You may be eligible to claim benefits to help you afford treatment for your repetitive trauma work injury.

Contact Us for Legal Assistance

Repetitive trauma work injuries represent a significant occupational health hazard, affecting millions of workers worldwide. Early intervention and effective treatment are crucial to minimizing the impact of repetitive trauma injuries and ensuring the long-term health and productivity of the workforce.

If you need legal assistance with workers’ compensation, contact Clawson & Clawson, LLP today.

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