Work-Related Sprains or Strains can Cause Pain and may be Disabling
Claiming Full Benefits for Injured Workers
Sprains and strains are among the most common work injuries. Workers in industries such as transportation, healthcare, and construction are at risk of sustaining sprains and strain injuries due to the physical demands of the job. Like other work injuries, sprains and strains are compensable under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. The Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. are dedicated to helping all types of workers throughout the state obtain monetary compensation for their work-related sprains and strains.
What is the Difference Between a Sprain and a Strain?
A sprain is the stretching or tearing of a ligament – the tissue that connects bones at the joints. Common types of sprains involve the ankle or wrist and symptoms typically include swelling, bruising, pain, and immobility of the joint.
A strain is the stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon – the tissue that connects muscle to bone. The back and hamstring muscles are commonly affected areas of the body and symptoms include pain, swelling, muscle spasms, and inability to move the muscle.
Minor sprains and strains will heal within a few days of resting, icing, and compressing the injured area. However, more serious sprains or strains may require physical therapy or even reconstructive surgery.
Causes of Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains can happen in almost any work environment. They may occur suddenly as the result of a single incident, or over time due to repetitive motion. Some of the most common causes of workplace sprains and strains include:
- Awkward posture: Workers who assume awkward positions place excessive force on their joints, tendons, and muscles. Slumping, excessive reaching, or working in cramped conditions can cause sprain and strain injuries if workers do not stretch and take breaks during the day. Over time, maintaining awkward postures can also lead to musculoskeletal disorders.
- Lifting heavy loads/lifting incorrectly: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cites poor material handling as a common cause of strains and sprains. Workers who attempt to carry loads that are too heavy or who do not lift objects properly are at risk for sprain and strain injuries.
- Repetitive motion: Many jobs require workers to perform repetitive tasks. Over time, especially when combined with other factors, such as awkward positions, workers may develop strains, also called repetitive strain injuries. Common repetitive strain injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and rotator cuff syndrome.
- Workplace hazards: Slip and fall hazards in the workplace contribute to workers’ risk of sustaining sprains and strains. According to OSHA, slip and falls are the most common type of workplace accident. Workers who trip over debris in the walkway, slip on icy stairs, or fall due to uneven walking surfaces may suffer various injuries, including sprains and strains.
Preventing Workplace Sprains and Strains
Many sprain and strain injuries are preventable. For those who work in awkward positions, lift heavy objects, or perform repetitive tasks, OSHA recommends that workers:
- Ask for help
- Avoid twisting at the waist or lifting upward as much as possible
- Bend the knees when lifting
- Carry heavy loads at waist-level and close to the body
- Change positions and stretch during the day
- Ensure that equipment is working properly
- Get enough healthy food, exercise, and sleep
- Maintain proper posture
In Pennsylvania, employers have a duty to provide workers with safe workplaces that are free from recognized safety hazards. They should therefore ensure that there are no slip and fall hazards, their tools and workspaces are ergonomic, and their employees are properly trained to reduce the risk of sprains and strains.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Obtain Compensation for Sprain and Strain Injuries
If you sustained a workplace sprain or strain injury, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, including payment for reasonable medical expenses and lost wages. Our attorneys have more than 40 years of experience representing all types of workers throughout Pennsylvania. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.
We represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.