Overuse injuries are, unfortunately, extremely common among workers across industries. They can result in loss of company time, productivity and money — especially since overexertion results in workers missing an average of 13 days of work.
Overuse injuries refer to when a muscle, tendon or ligament is damaged due to repetitive use. As a result, the upper arms can be prone to overuse injuries in jobs that require excessive pulling, pushing or lifting. A study showed that even office workers are at high risk for overuse injuries in their arms, as typing and clicking repeatedly can irritate musculoskeletal tissue.
Symptoms of overuse injuries in the upper arms can include:
- Pain that worsens with movement.
- Numbness or tingling.
- Limited mobility.
Teaching your workers steps to prevent overuse injuries in their upper arms can save them from unnecessary injury and reduce medical costs as well as the number of days missed from work.
How to prevent upper arm overuse injuries at work
Experiencing overuse injuries in the arms can be frustrating. They can cause intense pain, limit mobility and decrease productivity. Sometimes, overuse injuries in the upper arm can lead to conditions like:
- Muscle tears.
- Nerve damage.
The following tips can help your workers avoid developing overuse injuries in their upper arms while at work:
- Workers should warm up before they start the day.
Pre-work warmup movements can improve circulation in the upper arms and prepare them for managing heavy objects at work. Adding a stretching component can also increase workers’ range of motion and flexibility. If workers don’t warm up and stretch before beginning physically demanding jobs, their muscle tissue is less pliable and can be more at risk of incurring injury. This is because, without warming up and stretching, the muscle fibers are stiffer and shorter, making them easier to damage.
- Workers should take breaks.
Many overuse injuries occur as a result of consistent, repetitive motions. Muscle tissue can only handle so much pressure and tension at one time; when that pressure is repeated consistently, the muscle can fail. Using heavy machinery can cause workers to repeat arm motions that overtax their muscles. Encouraging your workers to take breaks can interrupt their repetitive motions and give their arms time to rest and heal in between sessions.
- Workers should double-check their alignment.
Overuse injuries can occur when employees repeat a motion in a misaligned, unsafe position. Misalignment can occur when workers don’t engage the correct muscles during a task, or when they over-rely on one muscle over others. Instead, workers should be taught proper body mechanics — how to maintain wrist, elbow, and shoulder alignment in safe and ergonomic positions while lifting, pushing, or pulling. This way, their upper arms can move with less risk of injury.
Work-Fit can help your employees avoid upper arm overuse injuries
Workers in many industries need to know how to prevent overuse injuries in their arms and throughout their body while at work. Our team at Work-Fit offers injury prevention programs to help keep your employees in the know about overuse injuries. Contact our team today for more information about our services or to learn how we can help keep your employees injury-free.