Common Job-Related Knee and Shoulder Injuries

Common Job-Related Knee and Shoulder Injuries

Accidents at work are inevitable. Even in an extremely safe environment, there is always the risk of an employee getting injured. Dr. Irvine sees multiple injured workers every month to help them recover from various conditions, some of which require orthopedic intervention and are more common than others. Among the most frequent injuries in any workplace are those to the knees and shoulders.

Knee Injuries

The most common job-related knee injuries are usually caused by repetitive pressure, trauma, heavy lifting and falls. Some accidents may simply result in bruises, but others could potentially lead to a serious disability without prompt and proper treatment. Common job-related knee injuries include:

  • Dislocated knee cap – This often occurs due to a sudden blow or twist of the knee.
  • Sprains and strains – They are similar yet not the same; sprains are caused by overextension of a ligament whereas strains occur when a muscle is abruptly pulled, in certain cases it may even tear.
  • Meniscus tear – This type of tear is commonly caused by a sudden turn, heavy lifting, or deep squatting; athletes are also very prone to this injury.
  • Bursitis – In other words, inflammation of the bursae. This may happen due to a number of reasons, such as repetitive motions, minor impact or trauma.
  • Patellar tendinitis – It’s an injury of the tissue that connects the kneecap to the shinbone; among the most common causes is repetitive stress on the knee.

Shoulder Injuries

Another type of common work-related injuries is to the shoulder. Many jobs require the employee to use their arms and shoulders on a regular basis. Conducting repeated overhead activities, pushing heavy objects, awkward positioning for an extended period of time or the use of heavy machinery may all contribute to the following common shoulder injuries:

  • Rotator cuff tear – There are two main causes of this type of tear: injury (e.g. due to falling on an outstretched hand) and degeneration which occurs naturally with aging.
  • Shoulder dislocation – This injury is usually caused by severe rotation of the shoulder joint which leads to the upper arm bone popping out of the socket located in the shoulder blade.
  • Impingement – Also called the swimmer’s shoulder – it happens when the rotator cuff’s tendons rub against the shoulder blade. Repetitive motions are a frequent cause of this injury.
  • Frozen shoulder – It’s characterized by stiffness of the shoulder joint and pain during movement and occurs when the shoulder joint’s capsule thickens and tightens, leaving less room for the movement and causing discomfort.

Not only physical workers are at risk of getting the above-mentioned injuries. Accidents happen to people across all employment sectors. The good news is that all of them are treatable. However, depending on the severity of the injury, some of them may require longer recovery periods than others. It’s important to visit a professional orthopedist who will provide comprehensive treatment throughout the entire period of the patient’s recovery and help them get back to work quickly, yet only when deemed as safe for the employee.

For more information about the orthopedic services that we provide for work-related injuries and more, contact us today.

Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome be a Work-Related Injury?

Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome be a Work-Related Injury?

According to OSHA, repetitive stress injuries (RSI) constitute one of the most costly occupational health problems affecting Americans. Carpal tunnel syndrome belongs to the group of common RSI, however, the question whether or not it is a work related injury is often dubious.

What is CTS? 

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve in the wrist is compressed and inflamed. The symptoms include but are not limited to pain in the hand, tingling, numbness, and wrist weakness. There are multiple factors that may contribute to developing this condition, including age, arthritis, gender or anatomic factors. However, certain cases may be associated with particular activities, such as repetitive hand motion, strong gripping, typing, using vibrating tools or awkward hands positioning. All of these create a damaging pressure on the median nerve.

Is carpal tunnel syndrome a work related injury? 

Any worker who is required to use their fingers or wrist in a repetitive motion on a regular basis is at high risk of developing CTS. Painters, mechanics, assembly-line workers, cashiers and many other occupations are prone to suffer from this condition at some point. However, it is still an object of debate whether a particular case qualifies as a workplace injury since it has been proven that repetitive motion injuries are not the only cause leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. Factors like obesity, diabetes or prior wrist trauma may cause carpal tunnel syndrome as well. Sometimes, medical evidence along with review of the work environment are necessary in order to determine whether or not a specific case is actually work related. Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that carpal tunnel syndrome has been the leading disability due to the amount of employees that must take time off from work.

Treatment 

There are many ways to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, varying from self-care like putting ice packs on the affected area, to wearing wrist braces and hand splints, attending physical therapy and taking anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin or ibuprofen. If the symptoms persist regardless of the treatment methods, surgery may be necessary. This will take pressure off the median nerve and bring relief to the symptoms.

If you feel you may be suffering from CTS, or to learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome, contact us today.

 

How Chronic Conditions Can Raise The Risk For Work Related Injuries

Work related injuries may be directly related to chronic health conditions. Certain medical disorders can lead to daytime sleepiness, unsteady gait, joint pain, poor eyesight, and diminished hand strength, all of which can heighten the risk for occupational injuries. Here are three medical disorders that may contribute to on-the-job accidents.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can cause snoring, gasping, and cessation of breathing while sleeping. Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea include obesity, consuming spicy foods and coffee, certain medications, drinking alcohol, acid reflux disease, and hiatal hernia.

Because those with sleep apnea awaken numerous times during the night, daytime sleepiness can occur, raising the risk for work-related injuries. To diminish this risk, chronic snorers should undergo sleep studies for further evaluation of their apnea so that an effective treatment plan can be implemented.

Carpal Tunnel

Individuals who have conditions of the hand that decrease grip strength and manual dexterity such as carpal tunnel syndrome may be more likely to get hurt while at work.

Wearing hand splints, icing the affected area, physical therapy, and taking prescribed anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce the pain and swelling associated carpal tunnel.

In some cases, release surgery is recommended to mitigate pain and resultant inflammation of the hand so that strength and mobility of the finger joints is restored.

Diabetic Retinopathy

People with diabetes, especially those with long-standing diabetes or people with poorly managed blood sugar levels may develop diabetic retinopathy. This condition leads to damaged blood vessels inside the retina, causing poor visual acuity and raising the risk for work-related injuries.

Maintaining effective control over blood sugar levels may help prevent the progression of retinopathy, however, if the normalization of glucose is ineffective in improving vision, laser surgery may be recommended. To learn more about preventing work-related injuries, contact us anytime.

Healing Work Related Injuries with an Orthopedic Surgeon

Each day, members of the American workforce are injured on the job. According to the CDC, in 2012 alone, 3.8 million workers sustained injuries on the job. Work related injuries have expensive repercussions. The ability of the injured worker to earn an income during recovery is compromised, and the employer as well as society incur tremendous costs paying for workers’ comp, medical expenses, and the cost of day-to-day living for the injured worker. The CDC estimates that workplace injuries cost the nation around 192 billion dollars annually! It’s in everyone’s best interest for those suffering from workplace injuries to recover as quickly as possible and get back to work.

Work Related Injuries, Spine & Back Injury, MO Orthopedics, Orthopedic Care in St. Louis

The workplace takes its toll on the average worker. Whether your job requires you to lift heavy objects, perform strenuous manual labor, or sit in the same position for hours a day in front of a computer, chances are you will encounter some form of pain, soreness, or injury.

Knee injuries can occur from lifting, kneeling, or high impact activity. An orthopedic surgeon can diagnose the nature of your knee injury, and determine the proper treatment for you.

Spine and back injuries can also be the result of a strenuous work day, but sitting for long hours in front of a computer or at a desk can take a toll as well. An orthopedic surgeon will diagnose and treat your condition, and help you to prevent re occurrence with supportive measures you can incorporate into your workday.

If you have pain resulting from past fractures or injuries and this pain is compromising your ability to perform your job, an orthopedic surgeon can help with that also! Contact us to see how we can get you back on the job and pain-free as soon as possible.

Osteoarthritis & Tylenol

Relieving Pain While Living With Osteoarthritis

Tylenol, also known as acetaminophen, is a pain relieving pill often taken for temporary moderate relief from osteoarthritis. However, note that Tylenol does not treat the inflammation that often times comes with this arthritis. It is important to consult with Dr. Irvine, or your general practitioner before taking Tylenol as some prescribed, and other over-the-counter medications contain acetaminophen. Consuming and digesting too much acetaminophen can be harmful to your overall health including your liver.

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common diagnoses of arthritis, and there is currently no cure; only ways to relieve temporary pain and discomfort. This becomes present when the cartilage found on your bones wear down; typically in aging bodies. This type of arthritis can cause pain & irritation in your knees, hips, hands and even your spine/back.

Woman grimacing in pain

Who is more likely to get osteoarthritis?

  • Older humans
  • Women
  • Being Overweight
  • Injuries over time, especially to the joints
  • Occupations that contain a lot of stress on a particular joint
  • Bone deformities
  • Diabetics, or other diseases like gout and rheumatoid arthritis

Do you think you have osteoarthritis?

common Symptoms to pay attention to:

  • Pain during, or after movement
  • Tenderness after applying light pressure to area
  • After inactivity, or waking up in the morning you may experience stiffness
  • Less flexible when trying to move in a normal range of motion
  • When using your joint, you may experience a grating noise or feeling
  • Little spurs around the bone

When to make an appointment with Dr. Irvine:

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms for longer than two weeks and are growing concerned, then please give our St. Louis, MO office a call at 314-567-5850.

You may want to consider trying to answer the questions to come better prepared for your visit:

  1. When did your joint pain begin?
  2. How frequent is your pain?
  3. Do certain activities make your pain worse/better?
  4. Has this joint been injured before in the past?
  5. On a scale of 1-10, what level is your pain?