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How can you protect your hands from repetitive stress injuries?

Regardless of the work you do in New Jersey, whether you perform manual labor or have an office job, you may be at work for repetitive stress injury to your hands and wrists. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the symptoms of repetitive stress injuries to the hands include numbness, tingling, weakness, stiffness, swelling and sensitivity to variations in temperature. If you experience symptoms such as these, it is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If you believe your condition to be work-related, you should also take immediate steps to file a workers' compensation claim. 

A number of factors may put people at risk for repetitive strain injuries. Some include work-related conditions such as exposure to excessive vibrations or extreme cold. Prolonged computer use is also a potential risk factor. Other risk factors are not related to a person's work and therefore more difficult to control. For example, people with small wrists may be more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome and feel the effects more keenly. 

In addition to carpal tunnel syndrome, the most commonly occurring repetitive stress injuries include tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, and trigger finger. These conditions arise from inflammation of the tendons, strong bands of tissue that connect bones and muscles, of the upper extremities. 

It may be possible to prevent repetitive stress injuries from occurring in the first place. The federal laws in place requiring employers to provide safe workplaces for their employees also require the employers to try to prevent RSI in their workforce. You can work in partnership with your employer to prevent RSI by ensuring that your workplace has been ergonomically designed and that you know how to reduce your risk of injury with proper positioning. Depending on the type of work you do, you should receive the proper physical conditioning.

If you do sustain a work-related repetitive stress injury to your hands, a work-hardening program or course of occupational therapy may help you improve. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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