What is a Work Related Rotator Cuff Injury?

The shoulder has the widest range of motion of all the joints in the body. It is a collective set of muscles and tendons that make up the stabilizing unit of the shoulder making it very prone to injury.  Most injuries to the shoulder joint occur when the arm is moved repeatedly over the head. Chronic irritation of the shoulder can cause inflammation, bursitis, damage to tendons and tears and the risk of injury increases with age. An acute injury to the shoulder can result in a partial or complete rotator cuff tear. People who tend to have work injuries to their shoulders typically include construction workers, painters and carpenters, and anyone who repetitively has to lift their arms overhead and who do heavy lifting over a prolonged period of time.

Rotator cuff injuries cause a dull ache in the shoulder which often worsens when a person tries to sleep on the injured shoulder and is accompanied by arm weakness. An injury to the rotator cuff can also cause limited range of motion in the shoulder. Without treatment, rotator cuff injuries can lead to permanent stiffness or weakness of the shoulder and may result in progressive degeneration. While resting is necessary for recovery, keeping the shoulder immobilized for a prolonged time can cause a frozen shoulder. Although some injuries heal on their own with the reducing of activities and taking anti-inflammatory medication, further treatment can include physical therapy, steroid injections, rotator cuff repair surgery, and can also include a partial or total shoulder replacement.

If your job duties require you to repetitively lift your arms above shoulder level and you have a shoulder injury, sometimes modifying your work habits can help alleviate the condition. You should seek medical treatment as soon as possible if you have sustained a rotator cuff injury. Delayed treatment can cause you to develop adhesive capsulitis. The chance of developing adhesive capsulitis can be minimal with prompt diagnosis and medical treatment.

If you have sustained a rotator cuff injury at work you may have to miss time from work and may have to undergo surgery. If the injury is severe enough, you may be unable to return to work without restrictions. You will likely be restricted from lifting overhead for life. This can have a tremendous impact on future earnings for which PA workers’ compensation has to compensate you for up to 11.6 years. Your physician may advise you not to use your shoulder once you have sustained an injury because it can cause your shoulder to worsen. If you have to undergo surgery, you may require several months to recover from your work injury. You may never regain your full strength and may continue to have pain, weakness, stiffness and limited range of motion.

If you have a sustained a rotator cuff work injury, please call Calhoon and Kaminsky P.C., at 717-695-4722 to discuss your claim. Litigation may be necessary and you should make sure you receive the benefits due and owing to you, such as wage loss benefits if you miss time from work and payment of your medical bills.