Wrist tendonitis accounts for a significant percentage of workplace injury claims. Because workers' compensation laws vary by jurisdiction, it may or may not be compensable under the workers' comp system in place where you live and work.
Read on to learn more about work-related wrist tendonitis injuries, and how you might be able to get compensation for harm caused by those injuries.
Wrist tendonitis occurs when the tendons in your wrist become inflamed, usually as a result of repetitive motion and/or overuse of the wrist. For this reason, perhaps the most commonly-identified form of wrist tendonitis is a Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome develops over time due to sustained periods of activities such as typing or playing a musical instrument. Chefs, surgeons, and some athletes can also suffer from carpal tunnel because they use their wrists and hands so much in the scope of their jobs.
Symptoms of an RSI in the wrist may include decreased dexterity, loss of feeling in the hands, chronic pain, and reduced strength causing as a diminished ability to grasp things. Treatments depend on the severity of the condition. If the symptoms are mild, treatment may consist of simple things, such as a period of rest in which the activity is not performed, physical therapy, massage, use of a wrist splint, or anti-inflammatory medication.
However, if the condition is more severe and a physician suspects nerve damage, surgery may be necessary to resolve or relieve wrist tendonitis symptoms. Surgery will be followed by a recovery period, of course, and it is important to follow your doctor's instructions. You should also obtain his or her advice about whether you should return to your previous employment—including whether there should be any limitations placed on your job duties—and what your future prognosis will be.
If you suspect that you have wrist tendonitis that's been caused by your job, make sure you report it to your employer as soon as you begin to experience symptoms. If caught early, tendonitis can resolve with minimal treatment. Your employer may be able to make changes to your work station to lessen the burden on your wrists—in some cases it may be as simple as adding wrist rests to your computer keyboard.
Even if your employer cannot make changes due to the nature of your job—or if your employer refuses to make any changes—it's important to place your employer on notice of your potential work-related injury as quickly as possible.
You might also want to consult with a lawyer to determine whether workers' compensation will cover your claim, or whether you might have to pursue litigation to recover lost wages, medical expenses, and other damages. Also, make sure you are examined by your doctor to receive a proper diagnosis and a referral to a specialist, if necessary.
Whether through the workers' comp system or litigation, you can seek to recover any lost earnings that resulted from the injury, including missed time for recovery or doctors' appointments. You can also seek to recover medical expenses that were related to your wrist tendonitis. If your employer could have accommodated you to alleviate the injury but failed to do so, you may be entitled other damages as well.
If you're not sure how best to proceed, book a free consultation with a workers' compensation attorney to better understand your legal options.