Work safety – overuse injuries

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Occupation overuse syndrome is considered as a type of injury that is quite common to the hands, fingers, elbows and wrists. This is due to monotonous movements or uncomfortable postures while at work. The tendons are commonly affected and can end up overworked due to recurring physical tasks such as playing a musical instrument, using a computer or working on an assembly line. Getting enough rest is considered as the best way to deal with these injuries. You can learn more about overuse injuries and how to handle them by enrolling in a first aid course.

Symptoms of overuse injuries in the workplace

Occupational overuse syndrome is typically linked with constant hand movements such as typing but it can also affect other body parts. It can affect the muscles and tendons of the hands, fingers, elbows, wrists, shoulders, neck and the back. The symptoms tend to vary depending on the individual, injury site and the severity. The common symptoms to watch out for include the following:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Swelling at the injury site
  • Limited mobility of the joint

Take note that the pain and stiffness can be minor and only noticeable while a manual task is being performed. On the other hand, if these symptoms are simply ignored, the discomfort will worsen until the muscles, joints and tendons become painful even while at rest.

Occupations prone to overuse injuries

overuse injuries
Occupational overuse syndrome is typically linked with constant hand movements such as typing but it can also affect other body parts. It can affect the muscles and tendons of the hands, fingers, elbows, wrists, shoulders, neck and the back.

Always bear in mind that any manual task that involves fast and repetitive movements or working in fixed or awkward positions for extended periods can trigger occupational overuse syndrome. Individuals who work using their hands such as musicians, hairdressers and office workers can suffer from these injuries. Jobs that increase the risk for overuse injuries include:

  • Office work  such as clerical tasks and typing
  • Manual labor such as carpentry and bricklaying
  • Process work such as packing and assembly line

What are the risk factors?

The overall workplace design and even the work practices can contribute to the occurrence of overuse injuries. The risk factors include the following:

  • Equipment or tools that do not conform comfortably to the body
  • The workstations are too high, too low or too far from the body
  • Work area requires repeated twisting, bending or stretching
  • Machinery that functions too quickly for user comfort such as fast moving conveyor belts
  • Manual tasks that are repetitive
  • Strict deadlines that prevents workers from getting breaks

Treatment for overuse injuries

If an individual is suspected of developing occupation overuse syndrome, it is important to rest the affected body part. In doing so, it will help prevent the condition from worsening. As mentioned earlier, there should be regular breaks from any repetitive activity so that the used body parts are given enough time to rest.  For severe cases of overuse, it is best to consult a doctor to determine the right diagnosis as well as provide the appropriate treatment.

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  • All stmarkjamestraining.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.