Common Work-Related Orthopedic Injuries

Patient with a knee injury and the doctor with x-ray in hands.

Work-related injuries are a significant concern for both employees and employers. They affect productivity and overall well-being and lead to workers' compensation claims. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported in 2022, with 1.2 million of these cases resulting in days away from work.

Among these, orthopedic injuries are particularly common and can have long-lasting impacts on an individual's health and ability to work. Below, you'll find the most common work-related orthopedic injuries that require time off from work and surgical treatment.

Overexertion orthopedic injuries

Overexertion injuries occur when physical activities such as lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying heavy objects exceed the body's capacity, leading to acute or chronic conditions. Professions commonly affected include truck drivers, construction workers, warehouse workers, restaurant employees, waste collectors, and movers.

Commonly affected areas include:

  • Back: Back injuries often manifest as slipped discs, strains, or sprains. These injuries can cause chronic pain and reduced mobility.
  • Knees: Overexertion can lead to ligament strains or tears, patellar tendinitis, and other knee joint issues.
  • Hips: Hip injuries may include muscle strains, bursitis, or even hip labral tears.
  • Shoulders: Rotator cuff injuries, shoulder impingement, dislocations, and muscle strains are common shoulder issues resulting from overexertion, particularly from overhead lifting.

Orthopedic injuries from falls

Falls can occur in any workplace due to slick floors, uneven walking areas, or icy pavements. Some falls can happen from heights, such as ladders and scaffolds. Professions with higher incidences of falls include roofers, construction workers, window cleaners, and building maintenance workers.

Falls often result in serious injuries such as:

  • Sprains and strains: Twisting an ankle or wrist while trying to catch oneself.
  • Fractures: Breaking bones due to the impact of the fall.
  • Spinal injuries: Damage to the spine or back from high-impact falls.

Repetitive-motion injuries

Repetitive motions required by many professions can lead to injuries. For example, carpenters and hairdressers may develop rotator cuff tendonitis in the shoulder, while office workers risk developing carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis. Even labor-intensive jobs such as manufacturing can cause repetitive motion injuries from consistent lifting and throwing activities.

How are work-related orthopedic injuries diagnosed and treated?

Orthopedic injuries are diagnosed through a combination of patient history, physical examination, and diagnostic imaging. Initially, a doctor will ask about the onset, location, and nature of the pain or symptoms, as well as any related activities or trauma.

During the physical examination, a doctor assesses the affected area for swelling, tenderness, range of motion, and functional limitations. Diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays, MRI scans, CT scans, and ultrasounds, is often used to provide detailed views of bones, joints, and soft tissues.

Once an orthopedic injury has been diagnosed, treatment may include:

  • Rest and activity modification
  • Physical therapy
  • Prescription medications such as pain relievers and muscle relaxers
  • Surgical intervention such as arthroscopy, open surgery, or fusion surgery

What should I do if I sustained a work-related orthopedic injury?

Your primary focus should be on receiving the best possible medical care to ensure a full recovery. Thankfully, workers' compensation insurance covers most workplace injuries in New York, which typically means you won’t need to worry about medical expenses. Under New York State law, you have the right to choose your doctor for treating work-related injuries, provided the medical provider is authorized for such cases.

At Island Musculoskeletal Care, our certified surgeons are ready to offer you exceptional care. Our board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons, with over 100 years of combined medical experience, are dedicated to providing you with top-tier care.

With years of experience diagnosing, treating, and supporting injured workers through New York's workers' compensation system, our doctors at IMC Bone Doc are here to help. If you've suffered an orthopedic injury at work in New York, let us help you move your workers' comp claim forward. From completing paperwork to providing supporting materials, we'll facilitate the process, ensuring your claim moves smoothly while you prioritize your health.

Contact us today to explore your treatment options and schedule an appointment.

Categories: Posts