Could construction work increase the risk of tennis elbow?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

Experiencing sudden pain or discomfort can be a cause for concern. As a construction worker, you’re no stranger to various aches and strains – they’re part of your demanding job. Over time, you may have found ways to ignore these aches or have conditioned your body to manage the strenuous tasks.

But this new elbow pain you’re feeling? It’s different. It might leave you questioning, where did this pain come from?

Gillette injuries are stealth injuries

A superficial injury might not raise alarms unless it interferes with your work. Unfortunately, there exists something called “Gillette injuries.” Named after a landmark Minnesota workers’ compensation case, Gillette injuries refer to conditions caused by repetitive stress on muscles and bones, potentially leading to gradual deterioration over time. One such condition could be tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis. This form of tendinitis results from overexertion of the forearm, wrist and hand muscles, causing elbow pain.

Interestingly, it isn’t a result of a single traumatic incident. Instead, it’s common among individuals performing repetitive arm movements, including construction workers.

Regular, continuous duties that might contribute to tennis elbow include:

  • Hammering
  • Using power tools
  • Heavy lifting
  • Repetitive gripping and twisting motions
  • Bricklaying
  • Painting or plastering
  • Handling of materials

While these activities make up a long list, they are partial. Sadly, any activity involving repetitive wrist twisting can potentially lead to this condition.

Compensable under workers’ comp

Each year, it’s reported that around 1% of construction workers may suffer an injury severe enough to cause them to miss work. Tennis elbow is one such injury, often exacerbated by the strenuous tasks involved in construction work. It’s essential to try to avoid being part of this statistic. However, if you suffer such an injury, it might be helpful to know that you may receive some form of financial relief under Minnesota workers’ compensation law, especially under certain circumstances.

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