Many on-the-job injuries—as well as conditions that develop as a direct result of work duties—warrant workers’ compensation benefits. One such debilitating injury is osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis and Its Causes
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that affects the bones, tissues, and muscles of a joint, such as the fingers, wrists, knees, or ankles. Jobs that require repetitive motion, strain, or pressure on joints can quickly place too much strain on the muscles, tendons, and cartilage in the active areas. This strain cannot only tear tissue but also wear down cartilage.
Cartilage (in this context) is the flexible tissue that provides a cushion between the bones in a joint. When this cushion is rubbed away or thinned by excessive overuse and repetitive motion—imagine rubbing a marshmallow between your fingers until it breaks down—the bones of the joint rub against one another. This causes…
- Friction and grating of the bones
- Bone spurs
- Irritation and inflammation of surrounding tissues
Watch Out for These Symptoms
The tell-tale signs that you may be developing osteoarthritis are as follows.
- Grating. You may feel a grinding sensation in the joint, especially while participating in receptive motion activities.
- Swelling. Most people with arthritis notice inflammation of the joint and surrounding area.
- Stiffening. You may experience a decreased range of flexibility or the inability to move the joint without pain, especially after periods of rest.
- Pain. This is the hallmark symptom of all forms of arthritis. Aching, soreness, or sharp twinges in the joint, especially during motion or after periods of rest.
Of course, you will need to visit your primary care physician or rheumatologist to get a definite diagnosis.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Osteoarthritis
Determining whether your job is contributing to or caused the development of your osteoarthritis can be extremely difficult.
- Your condition must be severe enough to limit your duties or prevent you from working.
- You must be able to secure enough documentation and evidence to prove the severity of your condition.
- You must properly complete all forms sent to you by your employer and his workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
- You must be able and willing to follow, accept, or fight against various limitations and mandates your employer may use to lower your benefits or deny your claim.
This process can be overwhelming if you don’t have a helping hand to guide you. Before stumbling and jeopardizing your workers’ comp benefits, allow us to extend our supportive hands. Our experience and resources can give you the stability and flexibility you need to conquer each step of the claim process. Contact our office today to get started on securing your rightful benefits.