WEAR and TEAR injuries, commonly referred to as repetitive motion or repetitive strain injuries, are one of the most commonly-occurring types of injury in the United States today. All of the disorders that constitute this broad category are worsened by the repeated, continual actions that individuals perform as part of their work environment.

WEAR and TEAR injuries account for more than 50% of all athletic-related trauma reported by physicians, and lead to significant losses in terms of expenses to the workforce. Simple everyday motions in the workplace, such as scrubbing a floor, lifting boxes, or typing, can lead to WEAR and TEAR related impairments.

The most commonly-reported categories of WEAR and TEAR injuries are bursitis and tendinitis. These two medical conditions are difficult to distinguish from each other, and, often times, both are simultaneously present in a disabled worker. Here is a brief overview of the key signs and symptoms of tendinitis and bursitis to aide you in identifying these debilitating medical conditions. You want to identify them in their early stages so you can seek appropriate medical attention and take corrective action before they result in permanent and irreversible disabilities that could cost you your job and enjoyment of your day-to-day life.

Tendinitis: Overview and Symptoms

A tendon is a white fibrous tissue that serves as the connection agent between muscles and bone and enables movement at all the joints in the human body. Due to the fact that tendons must be capable of bearing the entire weight of the associated muscle, they are relatively strong.

Tendinitis occurs when the tendon becomes inflamed and commonly occurs in areas such as the shoulders, biceps, elbow, and wrist. Tendons run through a lubricating sheath near the muscle connections, which also may experience inflammation, resulting in a closely-related condition referred to as tenosynovitis. The two symptoms are almost identical in terms of treatment protocol, symptoms, and recovery time.

The most commonly-reported symptoms related to tendinitis is pain or discomfort over the affected area. Tendinitis is worsened by continued motion of the tendon that is experiencing inflammation. The overlying skin of the inflamed tendon often appears red and feels warm. Here are some of the tell-tale signs of common tendinitis conditions:

  • Biceps: The pain or discomfort pressure point is typically located in the groove where the arm meets the shoulder. The pain is amplified when the elbow is flexed at a ninety-degree angle with the palm facing upwards (a position called “supination”).
  • Tennis Elbow: The pain or discomfort pressure point is localized in the lateral elbow and is reproduced by extension of the wrist as if you are cocking a tennis racket backwards in order to swing it.
  • Golfer’s Elbow: The pain or discomfort takes place in the medial region of the elbow and is amplified when the wrist is flexed forward.
  • Rotator Cuff: The pain or discomfort occurs when the arm is raised to the side, with the pain concentrated in the area over the affected shoulder joint.

Bursitis: Overview and Symptoms

A bursa is a miniscule sac that is located over an area of the body in which friction may occur and functions to provide cushioning or lubrication between the tendons and bones. Bursitis occurs when this sac or pouch becomes inflamed. There are over 50 bursae located throughout the body – most of which people are born with. However, some bursae are formed at sites of repetitive impact or stress such as in the elbow, knee, and hip areas.

There are three main types of bursitis: traumatic, infectious, and gouty. Traumatic bursitis is the category associated with WEAR and TEAR injuries and is most commonly reported in individuals under 35 years old.

Typical symptoms of bursitis include pain, tenderness, and a limited range of motion of the affected region of the body. Redness, swelling, and a crunchy sensation when the joint is used (known as “crepitus”) may also be reported. The usual signs of bursitis in the following areas are common in workplace WEAR and TEAR cases:

  • Knee: This condition is caused by excessive swelling and inflammation occurring over the lower portion of the kneecap. The skin above the kneecap is usually red and feels warm to the touch. The range of motion of the knee joint will be limited due to the resulting pain when the knee is bent or straightened.
  • Elbow: Bursitis of the elbow results in pain, swelling, and a red area presenting above the affected elbow joint. The pain worsens when the joint is flexed and the arm is extended.
  • Hip: The pain or discomfort will be present when walking or when the individual is lying/putting pressure on the affected area. Extending the leg away from and toward the body’s midline can also result in increased inflammation and pain.

When Medical Care Is Necessary

You should contact a physiotherapist and begin corrective treatment if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain or discomfort when you move your arms, legs, or hands
  • A tender feeling over a joint or where a tendon connects bone and muscle
  • Redness or notice a warm sensation over a joint or tendon
  • Pain that is so severe that you cannot fall asleep
  • Unable to sleep on the side that is affected by the pain or discomfort
  • Unable to perform routine daily activities at work or home such as typing, showering, walking, etc.

Certain signs and symptoms of WEAR and TEAR injuries may indicate that you have developed an infection and should be seen by a physician immediately. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following;

  • Acute joint pain or tenderness that is accompanied by fever, chills, nausea, or vomiting
  • When more than one joint is affected simultaneously or the associated pain and discomfort has migrated from one joint to another area
  • If you have a history of high-risk activity including IV drug use or STD

New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers with a Proven Track Record

At Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo, we have over 150 years of combined experience, providing unparalleled quality in legal counsel across the State of New Jersey. Our attorneys specialize in crafting innovative and effective solutions to even the most complex and challenging workers’ compensation issues, including assisting individuals suffering from the debilitating effects of WEAR and TEAR injuries.

If you have a WEAR and TEAR injury caused from repetitive motion at work, you need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney by your side to make sure you received the medical treatment and compensation you rightfully deserve. To find out more about how Petro Cohen can help you overcome your workplace injury, contact us for a free initial case analysis today at 888-675-7607 or by e-mailing us at info@petrocohen.com.