The physical demands of working in the health care industry are frequently underappreciated and overlooked. Whether in a hospital setting, long term care center, or residential facility, health care workers are frequently responsible for lifting and moving patients and moving around heavy equipment (and, of course, spend virtually all of their time on their feet).

While the health care industry has more than its fair share of sudden employee injuries as a result of these strains and stressors, health care workers are also increasingly burdened by repetitive stress injuries – commonly known as WEAR and TEAR injuries.  As the name suggests, repetitive physical movements can take their toll over time and can begin to wear down even the strongest bodies, causing stress and injuries.

Health Care Injuries in Cherry Hill

In many industries, workers may be susceptible to repetitive stress injuries in a certain area of their body. For instance, office workers may be more likely to suffer from hand and wrist injuries from typing while those working in a packaging facility may be more likely to suffer from knee and back injuries.

Because of the wide diversity of responsibilities that health care workers face, they are also at risk for many different types of repetitive stress injuries. Among the more common injuries that arise are those that occur because of moving heavy objects and extended periods of standing.

Spending a prolonged period of time on one’s feet can lead to WEAR and TEAR of one’s feet and ankles – particularly where shoes are not comfortable and do not adequately distribute weight. However, these types of issues also manifest themselves up the chain of the body and can lead to prolonged knee and hip pain if not properly addressed.

Many of us unwittingly have poor form that can accelerate WEAR and TEAR when we spend eight, or in some cases, 12 or more hours a day on our feet. This can lead to tendonitis or bursitis when not properly addressed.

Similarly, the repetitive strain of moving patients from their hospital beds to wheelchairs or helping patients do things like shower or go for walks can quickly take its toll on health care workers. These types of activities often lead to muscle strains in the back or even degenerative discs as pressure is continually placed on the spine.

Without proper treatment or strength work, the WEAR and TEAR of repeatedly moving heavy objects or struggling with an individual’s weight can ultimately result in prolonged pain and difficulty moving.  This may eventually require some health care workers to seek surgery or other medical relief.

Lesser Known Office Related Injuries

While we do not frequently think of health care workers as susceptible to office injuries – given how busy many of them are moving around – the changing technology of health care has heightened the risk for these types of repetitive stress injuries.

Hospitals and medical facilities are increasingly transitioning to electronic medical records. This requires computers to be placed in patient rooms, waiting areas, and anywhere else where health care workers may need to keep notes. However, many medical offices and facilities are not structured for computers or electronic devices and do not have proper desks or other structures for health care workers to use.

This means that many health care workers must end up taking electronic records in uncomfortable or contorted positions. They may also be subjected to keyboards and screens that are not at the proper height or position.

Over time, the repetitive use of these computers in this way can make health care workers susceptible to a wide variety of WEAR and TEAR injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis in the hand, and trigger thumb – to name a few.

In many cases, the best thing that can be done to prevent such injuries is to be aware of one’s environment and how medical records are being kept. If your working spaces are not well suited for typing and maintaining records, look into what type of equipment may be available to help alleviate the stress you experience.

New Jersey Attorneys Watching Out for Health Care Worker Needs

The health care industry is a tough one, and health care workers often must give of themselves selflessly in order to assist others and help their patients to recover. While this commitment is admirable, it should not be at the expense of the health care workers’ own bodies.

If you work in the health care industry and have been struggling with lingering or repetitive pain when you work, you may be suffering from a WEAR and TEAR injury that is covered by workers’ compensation. At Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo, our workers’ compensation attorneys can sit down with you to discuss your specific situation and determine whether you might have a potential workers’ compensation case.

For your convenience, we have four office locations in New Jersey that are open 8:30 to 5:30 Monday through Friday, including Cherry Hill, Hamilton, Northfield, and Cape May Court House.  If your situation requires, we may be able to meet with you after hours, on the weekend, or even at your location.  Our Web site offers live chat, so you can share your case details 24/7 and expect a prompt response from one of our qualified workers’ compensation attorneys.

Our firm has consistently received recognition for our work in workers’ compensation law and has developed a niche market of working with WEAR and TEAR injuries like the one you may have developed through your health care work. We understand that you need to be well in order to be the best at your job. So we will work hard to get you the compensation and care you rightly deserve.

Health care workers should know better than anyone that not taking care of oneself can lead to serious long term health issues.  Why leave money on the table when your repetitive stress injury from work activities could qualify you for compensation?

To contact us or set up a free initial appointment with one of our experience workers’ compensation attorneys, reach out online or call us at (888) 675-7607.