Pacifica Orthopedics, Huntington Beach, California.

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Workers Compensation Injuries and Orthopedic Surgery


In America, if you are employed then each day that you attend your place of work you are potentially risking injury or worse to yourself. Many workers compensation claims that are seen by an Orthopedic Surgery include repetitive motion injuries all the way through to acute trauma cases. The place of employment is not really a factor as office workers as well as construction workers can all suffer from a vast range of work related injury. If you have sustained an injury or illness through work and it affects the musculoskeletal system then you should seek the diagnosis and subsequent treatment by an Orthopedic Surgeon.

Any damage or injury to the musculoskeletal system can be evaluated by the Orthopedic surgeon. This applies to injuries and conditions that affect any bone, joint, tendon, nerve, muscle or ligament in the body. There are a range of common work place injuries that are specific to the occupation of the employee. For instance, office workers are more likely to present with repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve in the wrist is pinched. This nerve connects from the finger tips to the brain and the spinal cord. When the nerve is pinched or compressed it loses its ability to function correctly. When this occurs the office worker will usually experience pain, numbness, weakness and a tingling sensation.

The Orthopedic surgeon will diagnose, treat and refer the patient to rehabilitative therapy post surgery. The treatment of Carpal tunnel Syndrome can include Cortisone injections and other anti inflammatory medications. Whilst this is a very common injury that office workers present with in a large number of workers compensation cases, this is by no means the only injury that may occur.

At the other end of the spectrum, many Orthopedic surgeons will see construction related workers compensation injuries. Of the more common injuries that present are those that involve repetitive motion as well as head traumas. Cumulative Trauma Disorder or CTD is a blanket term that describes many of the common injuries and conditions that affect the soft tissue of the body. CTD is a condition where the opinions conflict as to how the CTD was originally caused. Some of the opinions are muscle and nerve tension along with over use just to name a few.

Overuse of muscles and joints after they have become fatigued can increase the likelihood of injury. When muscles and tissues have become over tired or overloaded they do not have a proper opportunity to recover if they are not properly rested. This condition is often found in construction workers who have to grip or lift repeatedly. Participating in the same action again and again can cause the muscles to fatigue causing minor damage that the body needs to repair at some point throughout the day. This damage cannot be repaired if it is occurring faster than the body is given time to heal. This results in soft tissue damage which weakens them and this is when pain becomes evident. When the CTD is extreme there can be a pinching of a nerve or the tendon may become severely inflamed, requiring Orthopedic Surgery. This type of structural problem responds well to surgery, anti-inflammatory treatment as well as appropriate rehabilitation.

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