Depending on what type of industry you’re working in, you may be vulnerable to different types of workplace injuries. Some risks are more common than others, though. In some cases, these injuries lead to patients missing work, or cause varying levels of chronic disability. Along with knowing what to watch out for, knowing what kind of treatment to seek out will limit problems at work and with your health.
Backs:Back pain is the most common type of workplace injury, typically from strain and overuse. Improper lifting technique is a known problem, although bad posture in sedentary workers also leads to back injury. These can range from disc herniation to vertebrae or cervical fractures, and strains of either the lower or upper back.
Supportive back braces may help protect from acute overexertion. Rest followed by gradual introduction of physical therapy and behavior or posture adaptation going forward is a preferred treatment.
Shoulders:Shoulder injuries can sometimes result from falls, including in patients who catch themselves and hang by their arms—in falling off the edge of a roof or an open walkway, for example. This can cause labral tears in the cartilage surrounding the joint socket. Other types of sprains, rotator cuff injuries, or pinched nerves can all result from strain or movement when the arm is being held overhead.
In some cases, breaking a fall with your arm can cause fracturing in the shoulder joint. This is indicated by more severe grinding and swelling or deformity. Most types of shoulder fractures will be treated with immobilization, although surgery to install plates or screws will be necessary if fragments have shifted out of place. Severe shoulder separations, from a fall or from lifting, may also require surgery for ligament repair.
Other arm injuries: While falls can also lead to injured elbows and wrists or broken arms, carpal tunnel syndrome is a common injury for workers who spend a lot of time in front of computers. As it becomes more severe, bracing and behavioral adaptation will be required for pain relief and healing.
Knees and legs:Damage to ligaments often comes from acute injuries. The ACL can be strained or torn in landing from a jump or fall, or from a sudden change in direction if you need to dodge something, while other ligaments can be injured from an impact against the knee. Sudden stops or pivots also tear other parts of the knee, such as the meniscus. Other injuries, particularly tendinitis, come from overuse.
While severe knee injuries may need surgical treatment, some can be improved with shorter-term bracing and physical therapy that strengthens the surrounding muscle.
Consulting a doctor as soon as possible after your injury will help you recover more quickly and more completely, and will also help support your worker’s comp claim. An orthopedic surgeon at FXRX can run tests and determine what kind of treatment you might need. They can also help you defend any need to take time of work for recovery.