Many jobs, such as factory jobs, involve doing the same process over and over. You may be doing work activity repeatedly throughout the day. The day goes by, you go home, and you repeat the process the next day. Over weeks, months, or years you may develop a condition that requires medical care or is debilitating. Unfortunately, many jobs in Minnesota require repetitive motions that can cause serious injuries over time. These repetitive motion injuries (RMIs) are also called repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), repetitive trauma injuries (RTIs), repetitive motion disorders (RMDs), and cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs). In Minnesota, we also call these injuries Gillette injuries.
These injuries are caused by repeatedly performing the same motion or doing the same set of motions over and over again. The motion does not have to be repetitive in the sense that it is done every day. It can be repetitive in the sense that it is done frequently enough over time to cause an injury. For example, if your job at your Minnesota workplace requires you to repetitively lift heavy objects, the repetitive motion of lifting those objects can lead to a repetitive stress injury.
What Is a Repetitive Stress Injury?
A repetitive stress injury is any type of injury that is caused by repetitive motion. The repetitive motion puts stress on the muscles, tendons, and nerves in the affected area. This can cause inflammation, swelling, and pain. The repetitive motion can also damage the tissue in the affected area.
Some of the most common repetitive stress injuries include:
Carpal tunnel syndrome: This RSI affects the hands, wrists, and arms. It is caused by repetitive motions of the hands and wrists, such as typing.
Back Strain: This RSI can affect any part of the back. It is caused by repetitive motions of the back, such as lifting heavy objects.
Epicondylitis: This RSI affects the elbows, forearms, and hands.
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis (Wrist Pain): This RSI affects the thumb and wrist. It is caused by repetitive motions of the thumb, such as texting, typing, or using a screwdriver.
Bursitis: This repetitive stress injury affects the shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee. It is caused by repetitive motions of the joints.
How Can You Recognize a Repetitive Stress Injury?
Repetitive stress injuries often develop slowly over time. This can make them difficult to notice at first. The symptoms of an RSI may not appear until months or even years after the repetitive motions have started.
If you think you may have an RSI, look out for these common signs and symptoms:
Pain: The pain from an RSI can range from mild to severe. It may be a dull ache or a sharp, shooting pain. The pain may come and go or it may be constant.
Tenderness: The affected area may be tender to the touch.
Swelling: The affected area may swell.
Numbness: You may feel numbness or tingling in the affected area.
Weakness: The affected muscles may feel weak.
If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible. An early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the condition from getting worse. In some cases, repetitive stress injury can lead to disability. If you learn that your condition is caused by work, be sure to report that to your employer as soon as possible. Failing to report an injury could result in your claim being denied.
Are You Suffering From a Work-Related RSI in Minnesota?
Many people believe that repetitive stress injuries are a part of the job and that there is nothing that can be done about them. This is not true. If you have developed a repetitive stress injury from your job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can help cover the cost of medical treatment and missed wages. To get these benefits, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim. This claim must be filed with your employer and the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Division.
If you need help filing a claim or appealing a denied claim, contact an experienced Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer. At Harvey & Carpenter, Attorneys at Law, we have helped many injured workers get the benefits they need and deserve. We will fight to get you the maximum amount of benefits available under the law. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.