Rotator cuff tears are a common work injury. They can happen to any kind of worker and in any kind of industry. The shoulder is a complex part of the body with many different structures that all work together. Our shoulders allow our arms to have a huge range of motion. If one part of the whole structure is injured, it can cause debilitating pain, limit movement, and even require surgery. Rotator cuff tears are one of the most common forms of upper extremity injury that we see in our New Jersey workers’ compensation practice. This work-related injury is so prevalent because there are many ways that a worker can damage their rotator cuff.
Rotator cuff tears can cause workers to be disabled from work for long periods of time. You need to have an experienced New Jersey workers’ comp lawyer fighting for your rights. Wear-and-tear injuries are particularly difficult to litigate and win the workers’ comp benefits that you deserve. You need a law firm that understands how to successfully handle tough wear and tear cases.
Types of Rotator Cuff Tears
A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that hold the shoulder joint in place and allows you to move your arm and shoulder. Problems occur when the muscles of the rotator cuff or tendons become irritated or damaged. This can result in pain, weakness, and a reduced range of motion.
What causes rotator cuff tears? This damage can be caused by a specific accident or injury. For example, let’s say you slipped and fell at work and tried to brace your fall with your arm outstretched. That jarring pressure on the shoulder could cause a rotator cuff tear.
Rotator cuff tears can also be caused by repetitive motion of the shoulder over a long period of time. For example, a worker’s job duties may require them to constantly reach above their head, a number of times every hour, all shift long. This repetitive type of motion could cause wear and tear on the rotator cuff. Regardless of the cause, if there is damage then the muscles or tendons can tear, causing significant pain and disability of the entire arm. Here are the common types of rotator cuff tears:
- Partial tear. The tendon of the rotator cuff is damaged and torn a bit, but not completely severed. This can be caused by injury or repetitive motion.
- Complete tear. The muscle and tendon tissue are torn into two separate pieces. This can be caused by injury or repetitive motion.
- Acute tear. These tears are caused by injury, such as a fall or lifting something too heavy too quickly or awkwardly.
- Degenerative tear. Rotator cuff tears sometimes occur from a gradual wearing down of the tendon over time, as well as genetics and other medical conditions. Tears are more common in the dominant arm due to the higher level of repetitive stress it experiences. Degeneration of the rotator cuff can also increase as we get older.
Even though rotator cuff tears can be caused by a traumatic event, they can also happen naturally over time as a result of completing repetitive work tasks. Whether your rotator cuff tear results from a single work-related incident or from wear and tear from your job duties, you can seek workers’ compensation benefits.
Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear
The most common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear are pain and weakness in the arm and shoulder. Other symptoms may include:
- Pain over the lateral aspect (outside facing) of the upper arm;
- Pain while resting and at night, especially if resting on the side of the injured shoulder;
- Discomfort and pain when lifting or lowering the arm;
- Weakness when rotating the arm or lifting the arm above the head; and
- A cracking or popping sensation when moving the arm.
These symptoms can be minor at the beginning of the injury but gradually become more and more painful as time goes by.
What to Do If You Experience a Work-Related Shoulder Injury
It’s very important that if you begin to experience pain in your shoulder, you tell your supervisor about it immediately. If the pain occurs after an incident like a fall, then reporting the injury immediately will make sure you’re protected, and the claim process starts. But if there was no incident and your shoulder just started to hurt, it’s still very important to report the pain. The pain could be caused by the gradual wear and tear of your rotator cuff due to repetitive work activity. Once you’ve reported your injury, it’s time to talk to an experienced New Jersey workers’ comp attorney to make sure your rights are protected.
Trust Petro Cohen for your WEAR and TEAR Claim
At Petro Cohen, P.C., we understand that, over time, the physical demands of your job can take a toll on your body. We call these types of workers’ comp cases WEAR and TEAR because they develop slowly over time.
Unfortunately, many workers don’t know they qualify for compensation for their trigger finger or other WEAR and TEAR injuries because they develop slowly over time. They may be told they are “just getting older,” or that workers’ compensation only covers injuries caused by accidents. At Petro Cohen, P.C., we know better.
WEAR and TEAR injuries, including several different types of injuries resulting from repetitive, forceful, and/or awkward movements. In order for a workplace injury to be compensable under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation law, it does not have to be a sudden, acute injury. In other words, an injury does not have to occur in a sudden workplace accident in order for you to receive workers’ compensation benefits. There are other types of injuries that occur over time that may be just as debilitative as acute injury.
If you suffer from a workplace WEAR and TEAR injury, such as a trigger finger, don’t go it alone. Trust Petro Cohen, P.C. to help you navigate the workers’ comp claim and to successfully help you receive the medical treatment you need and the compensation you deserve.
Call us to schedule your free consultation with Petro Cohen, P.C. today.