Repetitive stress injuries to the hands are a major problem for a lot of workers in Arizona. Our hands are complex and delicate, and they are also so important for our livelihoods. Even if your work is done mainly online, physical injuries to your hands could negatively impact your income.
Common repetitive stress injuries
Tendonitis is one of the most common repetitive stress injuries that workers experience. This injury occurs when too many repetitive movements cause the tendons in the hands to become inflamed. Two common names for tendonitis injuries are “trigger finger” and “tennis elbow.”
Another common repetitive stress injury that can lead to a workers’ compensation claim is carpal tunnel syndrome. This injury is caused by too much pressure being placed on the median nerve that runs along the palm. Carpal tunnel syndrome affects people in all different occupations including office workers and manufacturing workers.
There are several factors that can put people at an increased risk for repetitive stress injuries. Women, particularly those with smaller wrists, are at a greater risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome since their hands have less space for swelling. Other risk factors include:
• Exposure to vibration
• Exposure to cold
• Repetitive movements
Symptoms to look out for
Repetitive stress injuries can be treated at home, and surgery is usually not needed. However, workers should be aware of the symptoms so that they can begin icing and resting their injuries before they get too bad. Some symptoms of repetitive stress injuries include swelling, weakness, stiffness, tingling, and temperature sensitivity.
Prevention and treatment
Proper body positioning and ergonomics can help to prevent repetitive stress injuries. When a worker is injured, rest, ice, and elevation may bring the swelling down. The use of a wrap can also help to keep the injured hand in a position that is more conducive to healing.