A Look at Repetitive Motion Injuries

Not all workplace injuries involve an employee getting crushed by a large piece of machinery.  Some workplace maladies can develop slowly over time as a result of the type of work being conducted and the conditions of the workplace.  Injuries such as repetitive stress or repetitive motion can be just as debilitating, limiting an employee’s ability to function normally and causing significant and long-lasting pain.  Contact a dedicated Southern California personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney if you’ve been hurt on the job due to repetitive motion or repetitive stress.

What is repetitive motion injury?

A repetitive motion injury, also called repetitive strain or repetitive stress injury, is a condition that can result from repeating certain movements frequently and for long stretches over a long period of time.  The repeated movement can result in chronic pain or limited functionality in the muscles, nerves, or tendons. 

Common types of repetitive motion injuries

Repetitive motion injuries can happen to any workers who are performing a similar movement on a regular basis, whether they are factory workers twisting a wrench the same way all day or office workers sitting and typing on a computer every day. 

A few of the more common repetitive motion injuries include:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  Carpal Tunnel occurs when one of the main nerves to the hand is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist.  It can be caused by repeating the same hand and wrist motions over a prolonged period, such as by typing.  The condition can involve pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm, and the condition can significantly worsen over time if left untreated, leading to permanent nerve damage and more severe symptoms.
  • Tendinosis.  Tendinosis is the degeneration of the tendon’s collagen in response to chronic overuse; it is common for people typing or clicking a mouse over and over again.  Symptoms of the condition include pain and burning in the affected area, decreased strength and flexibility, and pain caused by everyday activities.  “Tennis elbow” is a form of tendinosis (though often confused with tendinitis).
  • Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that involves pressure or stretching of the ulnar nerve (also known as the “funny bone” nerve).  The condition can lead to numbness or tingling in the ring and small fingers, pain in the forearm, and/or weakness in the hand.  Cubital Tunnel can result from having elbows bent for long stretches over an extended period, leaning on an elbow for long stretches, or from repeated bending of the elbow, as well as from a blow impacting the inside of the elbow.
  • Lower back strain.  Workers who regularly lift and carry heavy objects as a part of their work or who must repeatedly bend and hunch throughout the day often experience pulled or strained muscles, nerves, or tendons in their lower back. 

These types of injuries can develop for any person who performs the same physical function over and over as a part of their daily life.

Are repetitive motion injuries covered under California’s workers’ compensation?

Repetitive motion injuries are considered a real, tangible injury that workers suffer as a result of performing their workplace functions.  The California workers’ compensation system will cover your treatment, medical costs, lost wages, and temporary (or in extreme cases, permanent) disability that may result from these types of injuries.  Your employer’s insurance is required to cover your workplace injury so long as you can prove that the injury was sustained as a result of you performing your job.   

If you start to feel chronic pain or limited function in connection with muscles you use daily as part of your job, you should report the injury to your employer as soon as possible.  You should then see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment of that injury.  Keep copies of your notification to your employer and your associated medical records. 

Also, contact a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.  Repetitive motion injuries can be difficult to prove, especially because they develop over time rather than as the result of a specific workplace accident.  A skilled personal injury lawyer can help you develop your strongest claim and seek maximum coverage for your injury.

If you have been injured in the workplace or as a result of someone else’s negligence in San Bernardino or Los Angeles County and want to know your options, contact the seasoned and effective Rancho Cucamonga personal injury attorney John D. Lueck for a free consultation.


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