Repetitive Strain Injuries & Workers’ Compensation

What Is a Repetitive Strain Injury?

A repetitive strain injury (or repetitive stress injury) refers to a gradual buildup of damage caused to a specific region of nerves, ligaments, tendons, or muscles. The damage is caused by repetitive motions. Common types of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) include:

  • Bursitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • Lower back pain
  • Myofascial damage
  • Rotator cuff syndrome
  • Tendonitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Tenosynovitis

Signs of an RSI

RSIs are typically sustained in your neck, shoulders, forearms, elbows, wrists, and/or hands. However, you may feel the following symptoms in other areas of your body that are affected by repetitive motions. RSI symptoms include:

  • Tenderness
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Throbbing
  • Pain (mild or severe)
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Sensitivity to cold or heat
  • Weakness

How Is RSI Treated?

If you have RSI symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. They can help you begin a tailored treatment plan that may involve:

  • RICE treatment, which includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation of the affected area
  • Steroid injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Stress reduction
  • Relaxation treatment/training
  • Securing the affected area with a splint
  • Oral or topical non-steroidal drug treatment
  • Surgery

High-Risk Professions for Repetitive Strain Injuries

Repetitive strain injuries are common injuries sustained by people who do repetitive activities and motions. You can develop an RSI by simply:

  • Completing physical training
  • Grasping and using tools
  • Holding an uncomfortable or single position for extended periods
  • Swiping items at a checkout stand
  • Typing
  • Using a computer mouse
  • Using tools with vibration
  • Working in cold temperatures
  • Working on an assembly line
  • Using one group of muscles more than others
  • Repeating a singular motion using a specific group of muscles, joints, and/or ligaments

Jobs that may result in an RSI include but are not limited to:

  • Agricultural workers
  • Bus and delivery drivers
  • Chefs
  • Construction workers
  • Electricians
  • Grocery store employees
  • Hairdressers
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Installation technicians
  • Janitors and cleaning service professionals
  • Musicians
  • Office and administrative professionals
  • Plumbers
  • Professional athletes
  • Welders

If you work in a role that risks you sustaining an RSI, you and your employer should take steps to address and reduce the risk. Actionable steps that can be taken include (but are not limited to):

  • Encouraging regular break times
  • Taking time to stretch and walk away from a desk or post
  • Ensuring work areas offer proper support (i.e. ergonomic desk areas, etc.)
  • Training employees on proper lifting techniques, tool operation, and desk area management
  • Ensuring the workplace adheres to OSHA safety procedures and guidelines

Get Legal Help

At McHargue & Jones, LLC, our attorneys have nearly two decades of collective experience. If you or a loved one have been hurt on the job and sustained a repetitive strain injury, we can help you understand how workers’ compensation in Illinois works, whether you have a valid claim, and support you in any way you need throughout the case. We represent a wide range of workers including:

  • Welders
  • Electricians
  • Delivery drivers
  • Union workers
  • Warehouse workers
  • Factory workers
  • Plumbers
  • Airline/airport employees
  • Construction workers

Call (312) 739-0000 or reach out online today to learn more about our services. Initial consultations are free.