Repetitive Strain Injury

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is usually associated with sport or office and admin jobs, but any worker can be affected. If you have suffered RSI brought on by your work, you might be able to claim.

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is an “injury to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be caused by repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations, mechanical compression, or sustained or awkward positions.”

There is no single test to check for RSI as the symptoms can be caused by a number of things, including repetitive, strenuous work. A claim can be successful if the RSI was a result of negligence by an employer.

Types of Repetitive Strain Injury Claim

Tennis Elbow
Epicondylitis (better known as ‘tennis elbow’) is a form of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). It is commonly associated with playing tennis and other racket sports. However, anyone whose work involves repetitive flexing of the elbow or moving the wrist forward and backward could be susceptible to this painful condition.

Repeated movements combining flexion (as in bending your elbow) with pronation (rotational movement of the forearm) are the major cause of epicondylitis. The condition can be extremely debilitating and if left untreated can become chronic, so it’s important to deal with it quickly and manage it properly.

Any activity that puts excessive force on the muscles that connect the wrist to the elbow can strain the inner part of the elbow joint. The body reacts to this strain with painful inflammation. Those affected complain of an ache or pain in the elbow joint and the surrounding muscles. When they lift their wrist with the palm up (as if picking up and holding a tray) the pain worsens and movements that involve flexion or pronation can be unbearable.

The risk of developing epicondylitis is higher in manually intensive occupations, but anyone including typists, computer programmers or office workers could be at risk of developing epicondylitis. Those who regularly operate heavy vibrating equipment are also liable to suffer from epicondylitis as well as vibration white finger (VWF).

Your employer has a duty to protect your health and safety, especially if you are involved in repetitive manual work or use a keyboard regularly. They should comply with the appropriate regulations governing preventative measures and equipment. If your employer has failed in their duty to protect you in the workplace you are well within your rights to bring a claim against them.

More about epicondylitis and tennis elbow claims
Epicondylitis is caused by an inflammation of the epicondyle – the area immediately around the elbow joint. Lateral epicondylitis (‘tennis elbow’) is the most common form of the condition, affecting the outer part of the elbow. Medial epicondylitis, (golfer’s elbow) affects the inner part of the elbow.

Office workers, labourers, painters and decorators, truck drivers and fork lift operators are particularly susceptible as their work routinely involves the kind of repetitive movements that put strain on the joints. Butchers and automobile assembly line workers seem especially at risk of contracting both lateral and medial epicondylitis.

Whatever the occupation of the victim, epicondylitis can have chronic and lasting effects, making even small everyday tasks like writing, picking up smaller objects and opening a door extremely painful.

Your employer has a legal duty to protect your health and safety, especially if you are involved in any form of repetitive manual work. If overuse of the elbow was foreseeable and preventable, your employer is obliged to take steps to prevent or mitigate the possible risks involved.

Tenosynovitis
Tenosynovitis is an injury to the sheath covering and lubricating a tendon (the tissue that attaches muscle to bone) allowing it to move freely and smoothly. The condition usually involves some damage (tendonitis) and while its exact cause is unclear, it can result from the overuse of muscles and their connected tendons.

Tenosynovitis is common in middle-aged adults, particularly in people who are quite sporty. Problems may be more common if your work involves repetitive movements but any activity that requires repetitive and often forceful motions of the forearm, wrist and hand combined, increases the risk of developing tenosynovitis.

So, anyone from a manual labourer or construction worker to those working on an assembly line, gas fitters, electricians or warehouse operatives to office workers could be at risk of developing tenosynovitis.

Several medications are used to treat tenosynovitis. These can include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce inflammation and pain, corticosteroids which are injected directly into the sheath and antibiotics if the tenosynovitis was caused by a bacterial infection. Surgery may be used for severe tenosynovitis. The surgery will release the tendon and allow it to move freely.

Your employer has a duty to protect your health and safety, especially if you are involved in repetitive, heavy manual work. They should comply with the requirements of the appropriate regulations for breaks and other preventative measures and equipment such as wrists rests for keyboards. If your employer has failed in that duty to protect you in the workplace you are well within your rights to bring a claim for compensation against them.

More about tenosynovitis claims
Tenosynovitis is common in the tendons of the thumb (de Quervain’s tenosynovitis) but the wrists, hands, and feet can also be affected. Frequently, there may be several repeated small injuries or tears to the tendon itself as well as the damage to the synovium. If these injuries continue or are left untreated, they can lead to irreversible tendon damage.

Tenosynovitis can be caused by calcium deposits near the origin point of the tendons, bacterial infection, or by adopting an incorrect or poor posture. However most medical authorities believe it is mainly due to the overuse of muscles and their connected tendons.

The problem seems to be common in middle-aged adults, particularly those who are quite sporty, but any activity that requires repetitive and often forceful motions of the forearm, wrist and hand increases the risk of developing tenosynovitis, no matter what your age.

Repetitive movements at work like lifting heavy loads or operating heavy machinery are obvious causes, but those movements need not be especially forceful. Any sort of work involving repetitive movement such as writing, typing or using a computer mouse, could cause tenosynovitis.

If a work-related task is responsible for your tenosynovitis you may be able to claim for financial losses as well as medical and rehabilitation costs. Such claims can be complicated, so it is advisable to use the services of a solicitor experienced in these cases.