Health care employees work tirelessly to provide the best possible care to patients. Unfortunately, reports show that their dedication comes with a price. Strain and sprain injuries account for most workers’ compensation claims, and employees in the health care industry sustain these injuries more often than any other worker.
What are sprains and strains?
- Sprain: These result from torn or overstretched ligaments, tissues that connect the bones through joints. It can occur from twisting, holding awkward positions, falling, getting hit or forcing body parts past its normal range of movement. Sprains often affect the ankle, knee, wrist and thumb.
- Strain: These are torn or overstretched muscles or tendons, tissues that connect bones to muscles. It can occur over time by putting too much pressure, twisting or pulling on a muscle. The back, hamstrings and neck are common sites for strains.
Hospital workers tend to stand and walk for hours, routinely bending and stretching, overexerting their bodies. For example, patients with severe injuries or illnesses may be incapable of carrying their weight. This pushes nurses to bear the burden. Lifting patients and heavy objects regularly can take a heavy toll on health care workers.
A strain or sprain can heal more quickly and feel bearable compared to more severe injuries. To avoid taking sick days, employees may prefer to keep working while enduring discomfort. However, these injuries may cause permanent damage without proper treatment and recovery, resulting in even more time off from work.
Filing workers’ compensation for sprains and strains
Employees may want to tough it out at work. However, when injuries prevent workers from performing their duties, they may have no choice but to stay home and recuperate. Successfully filing a workers’ compensation claim can allow them to receive lost wages as they rest.
Though sprains and strains make up most workers’ compensation claims, obtaining approval or recovering a fair amount may not be easy. Because these injuries are not visible on an X-ray, they can be difficult to detect or diagnose. Cumulative trauma can also lead to strains but make it more challenging to determine if it is work-related.
Health care workers go through enough challenges with their work. But ignoring their pain can put their health and careers at risk. An attorney may guide those who encounter issues with their workers’ compensation claim.