When job duties entail repetitive motions, it can place stress on various parts of the body. Over a period of time, it can increase to a point where it effects the ability to perform work tasks and it may necessitate treatment. One example is tendonitis in the arm, which could qualify injured employees in New York for workers’ compensation benefits.
Where Tendonitis Can Occur
Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons, the tissue that connects muscles to bones. In the arm it can occur in the elbow, known as tennis elbow when it affects the outer tendon and golf elbow when it affects the inner tendon. Although the patient feels pain in the elbow, it can spread down the forearm and/or into the upper arm.
Another part of the arm that can develop tendonitis is the upper biceps (upper biceps tendon) which connects to the bones in the shoulder. It is located in the front of the upper arm. The patient may feel pain in the front of the shoulder. Sometimes there is also weakness.
How Tendonitis Can Occur
Tendonitis of the elbow can occur when there is repetitive hand gripping or wrist turning, such as those who use tools (hammering, using a screwdriver, etc.). But it can also occur when tasks are performed using awkward positions. The risk of developing tendonitis increases with age because tendons become less flexible.
Jobs that can cause or exacerbate tendonitis include:
- plumbers; and
Tendonitis of the biceps can occur with certain types of overhead activities, like frequent and repeated reaching. Stacking boxes or other items on high shelves is an example, so occupations that require these or similar tasks may put workers at risk.
Treatment of Tendonitis
Tendonitis can typically be treated conservatively with:
- restricting movement;
- medication to reduce inflammation and relieve pain;
- compression (band around the elbow or biceps);
- gentle stretching;
- strengthening exercises; and
When these forms of treatment don’t work, the doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections. But if several months go by and there is still no improvement, surgery could become necessary. A torn tendon would need to be repaired and in some cases it might even be removed. Rehabilitation typically follows surgery.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation
When job-related tasks cause tendonitis, workers’ compensation can cover medical costs to treat it. It’s important to notify the employer about the injury as soon as possible. Conditions that develop over a period of time may not be evident right away. But as soon as the doctor provides a diagnosis and it’s clearly associated with work, let the employer know.
New York requires that injured workers inform their employers – in writing – of their injuries within 30 days from the date of injury (or when it became known). However, if it’s an occupational disease, the employee has two years from the date of diagnosis (or when it should have been known) to inform the employer.
The employee will need to complete a workers’ comp form (C-3) and submit it to the nearest office if he or she is going to miss time from work. It is then his/her responsibility to follow the doctor’s instructions in order to recover quickly and get back to work.
If a claim is denied—for instance, the employer doesn’t believe that tendonitis is related to employment—the worker can file an appeal. In such cases – or in cases of serious injury or if other issues arise when pursing workers’ comp, workers can seek legal help from Markhoff & Millman in New York. Call us at (866) 205-2415 to set up a consultation.