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Steps to take if you have a repetitive strain injury caused at work

What is a repetitive strain injury?

The term ‘repetitive strain injury’ covers a range of different conditions in which a person repeats one or very similar actions so much that the tendons and muscles in their hand or arm become very painful and stop functioning correctly.

Repetitive strain injuries can be caused or made worse by a person’s working environment. For example, someone who types all day, every day may develop carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the tendons in your wrist. Employers have a certain duty to ensure that their employees are protected from developing repetitive strain injuries, whether this be providing wrist supports or giving them regular breaks from repetitive work. When employers fail to do this, workers can pursue repetitive strain injury claims which enables them to get compensated for any financial losses they have suffered due to their injury.

Do you have a repetitive strain injury that was caused at work?

If you have a repetitive strain injury that was caused at work, you should make your employer aware that you are suffering. They should take steps to allow you to work in an environment that won’t worsen your condition, allowing you to recover. If they fail to do this, however, that’s when it might be a good idea to contact specialist a personal injury solicitor to begin a claim against your employer.

Different types of repetitive strain injuries

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome affects the wrist, causing reduced movement, pain, tingling and numbness. It can affect your ability to work as well as getting in the way of your hobbies and home-life.

Cubital tunnel syndrome

Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome affects your elbow and arm rather than your wrist. It has similar symptoms to carpal tunnel and can make the muscles in your arm feel very weak and numb if it gets really bad.

Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow involves elbow pain as a result of the overuse of arm and forearm muscles. Unlike its name suggests, tennis isn’t the only way a person can develop the condition. Anything which injures the muscle and tendon area around the outside of your elbow will be referred to as tennis elbow.

Common symptoms of repetitive strain injuries

What symptoms you experience will depend on what type of repetitive strain injury you have. For example, if you have carpal tunnel syndrome you will likely experience symptoms in your hands and fingers, whereas if you have tennis elbow your symptoms will manifest in your forearm and elbow. All repetitive strain injuries tend to share the below symptoms:

  • Stiffness
  • Tingling feeling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness and a loss of grip
  • Cramp

How frequent you experience the above will depend on how severe your injury is. You might experience symptoms constantly or intermittently. They will often present themselves whilst you are doing the repetitive task which caused the injury in the first place and subside when you stop. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek medical advice as if you leave your symptoms untreated, your condition could get a lot worse.

Repetitive strain injury claims and jobs at risk

Below are just some jobs which hold a high risk of developing carpal or cubital tunnel syndrome, or tennis elbow, however anyone who performs intricate and/or repetitive tasks is at risk too:

  • Factory pickers
  • Welders
  • Machine operators
  • Secretaries
  • Data inputters

If you carry out repetitive task’s day-in, day-out, you are at a higher risk of developing a repetitive strain injury. As mentioned before, your employer should make sure that they reduce the chance of you getting injured, and if they don’t you could make a claim against them.

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