Avoiding On-The-Job Muscle Strains and Sprains
No matter what your occupation, in the course of your daily work you likely perform tasks that involve stretching, bending, or lifting. Whether you are a construction worker lifting heavy material, a retail worker bending to pick up merchandise, or an office worker reaching for supplies, muscle strains and sprains can occur. In terms of on-the-job injuries, pulling a muscle or tendon can result in lengthy recuperation times, ongoing pain and disability, and injuries that can end up permanently affecting your ability to do the things you once enjoyed. To protect yourself, it is important to know the damaging effects these injuries can have, as well as what you can do to prevent them.
Muscle Strains and Sprains
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), injuries to soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments are among the most common types of injury. There are two different categories of soft tissue injuries: acute and chronic. An acute injury occurs as the result of some sort of trauma, such as a fall, or pulling a muscle or tendon while bending, lifting, or stretching. Overuse injuries occur most often during repetitive motion tasks and routine work you do on a daily basis, such as restocking shelves, unloading trucks, or reaching for the phone. They occur over time, continually being reinjured each time a particular task is performed. The AAOS lists three different types of soft tissue injuries:
- Sprains: These occur as the result of a stretched or torn ligament, and most often affect the knees, wrists, and ankles
- Strains: These occur when there is an injury to the muscle or tendon, and most commonly affect the legs, foot, and back
- Contusions: These are bruises that occur as the result of a bump or blow, crushing the underlying muscle fibers and tissues
Mild forms of the above injuries may respond to a treatment known as RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation of the injury site. In more severe case, sprains and strains may require surgery to repair damage, and contusions can end up resulting in permanent damage to the soft tissues.
How to Avoid Injury
Regardless of the type of work you do, there are certain precautions you can take to avoid injury. To minimize the chance of sprains and strains, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommends the following:
- Avoid strenuous activity when you are tired or in pain
- Wear the appropriate footwear for your particular job
- Watch out while walking over uneven surfaces or transitioning from one surface type to another, such as carpeting to tile
- Arrange your work area to minimize lifting, bending, and stretching
- When lifting objects, use your legs, not your back
- Avoid carrying more objects than you can handle, and carry all objects close to your body
Reach Out to Us for Help
If you or someone you love is dealing with the painful effects of a job related strain or sprain, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm immediately. Our experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys can advise you on the benefits you may be entitled to that can help you recover from your injuries.