An elbow fracture or dislocation at work might result from a sudden and traumatic event like a slip-and-fall or a trip-and-fall, but many workers’ compensation claims involving elbows involve a repetitive stress injury (RSI) that’s usually caused by grasping and lifting. Many jobs require repetitive arm movements that result in cumulative stress or trauma. These types of injuries involve pain on either or both the inside and outside of the elbow. Here are some examples of elbow RSIs that California workers’ compensation law recognizes.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
This condition involves the ulnar nerve (funny bone) when it is inflamed or stretched. It results in numbness, tingling, pain and weakness in the hand, ring and small fingers. It can be caused by leaning on one or both elbows or keeping an elbow bent for an extended period of time. Some people experience an ulnar nerve that doesn’t stay in place. It might snap when the elbow is moved. That snapping can cause painful ulnar nerve irritation.
Radial Tunnel Syndrome
At the elbow, the radial nerve passes through a tunnel that consists of bone, tendons and muscles. Inflammation of muscles and tendons in that radial tunnel can put pressure on the radial nerve. That results in a dull pain from the top of the forearm, the outside of the elbow or both. Some people experience sharp pain at the back of the hand when they straighten their fingers or wrist.
You’ve probably heard this condition referred to as tennis elbow. Inflammation of muscles and microscopic tears in tendons on the outer side of the elbow from overuse cause persistent sharp pain. Painters, plasterers and carpenters commonly develop tennis elbow.
This condition is commonly called golfer’s or pitcher’s elbow. It’s also caused by inflamed muscles and microscopic tears, but these are located on the bony bump on the inside of the elbow. Mechanics who use wrenches and screwdrivers along with tradesmen commonly develop golfer’s elbow.
Icing, anti-inflammatory medication, an elbow brace and rest are conservative treatment for most RSI elbow disorders. Cortisone injections might also provide relief. Nerve release surgery might be required in serious cases. Most people can return to work in a month to three months.
Report the Injury
Once a repetitive stress elbow injury manifests itself, you should report the injury to your employer who will in turn report it to its workers’ compensation insurer. You might be eligible for benefits under California workers’ compensation laws. A prolonged elbow injury can lead to loss of range of motion, decreased strength and permanent disability that can drastically affect a person’s ability to perform their job until such time as the injury is completely healed.
Contact a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Attorney
In efforts to save money, RSI workers’ compensation claims are almost always disputed by workers’ compensation insurers.
In almost all cases when someone is injured on the job, the worker will get the best possible outcome by hiring an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
Attorney Alice A. Strömbom focuses exclusively on Workers’ Compensation Law. She is very familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to avoid providing the medical treatment and disability benefits injured workers deserve, and has a recognized track record in combating such issues.
Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation.