Any worker making repetitive movements throughout the day in their workplace can suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, or tendonitis. In some careers, a worker must repeat a motion hundreds or thousands of times without rest. Many people associate repetitive motion injuries with typing, but, according to Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, the reality is they can occur in any industry to any worker.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterized by hand and wrist pain, tingling, numbness, and loss of hand strength. The symptoms are caused by the inflammation of the carpal tunnel, an area in the wrist that holds nerves, and may require surgery. Typists, tailors, assembly-line workers, and cleaning workers are especially at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome, as is anyone making repetitive wrist motions. Construction workers are also at higher risk, as many tasks involve physically demanding repetitive motions.
Tendons are tissues that connect the muscles to the bones. The overuse of a tendon can cause the tendon to become inflamed, resulting in tendonitis. The condition is sometimes known as “tennis elbow,” “jumper’s knee,” or “mother’s thumb,” and is the result of overuse and repetitive movement, especially forceful movement. Tendonitis can become worse with continued use of the injured area, so it is important to rest the affected tendon and receive necessary medical treatment.
Bursitis is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. This condition is related to the lubricant-filled sacs present at joints in the body known as bursae. Bursae allow joints to move freely and painlessly, but can become enflamed through overuse. Bursitis can make simple tasks extraordinarily painful and may require that the individual take time off from work.
Sufferers of repetitive motion injuries should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Continuing to overexert the affected area is likely to worsen the condition. If the repetitive motion injury is the result of an employer’s negligence, the employee may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.