Epicondylitis may be hard to diagnose because the pain and other symptoms mimic many other conditions.
Many work-related injuries are caused by the overuse of muscles due to an accident or the prolonged and repetitive motion of the same set of muscles. One such condition common among workers is epicondylitis, which is a musculoskeletal disorder that involves inflammation of an epicondyle.
Lateral and Medial Epicondylitis
Commonly known as tennis elbow or golf elbow, lateral and medial epicondylitis affects the muscles and tendons around the elbow. Epicondyle refers to the bony protruberance on the inside and outside of the elbow. Even though the name of the condition suggests that it affects only athletes, it can also be caused by workplace accidents involving:
- wrist injuries
- assembly lines
- repetitive stress
- mechanic work
- construction work
- hand-braced falls
In most cases, epicondylitis affects the dominant arm of the worker. Even though a large percentage of tennis players are affected by the condition, they make up only about 5 percent of the total population diagnosed with epicondylitis. It is a part of osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease of the bones.
Symptoms of Epicondylitis
A worker who overuses a hand, forearm, or arm are more susceptible to developing epicondylitis. The most common symptoms of epicondylitis include:
- intense pain that is felt inside the elbow
- pain or numbness radiating down the arm
- pain that worsens when shaking or squeezing
- inability to move the wrist with force
Diagnosis of Epicondylitis
It can be hard to diagnose epicondylitis, because the pain and other symptoms mimic many other conditions. A doctor may use X-rays and other techniques to reach a diagnosis. If a worker is diagnosed with epicondylitis, the doctor may prescribe topical anti-inflammatory medications, painkillers, and cortisone injections and suggest that the injured worker should not put any stress on the affected joint to help it heal.
An injured worker may continue to perform their regular duties even when they have intense pain in the elbow because they cannot afford time off work. However, this can exacerbate the condition. It is important for the employer to provide the following resources to the injured worker:
- medical treatment
- prescription medication
- physical therapy
- lighter duty
- forearm bands and counter brace
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The Missouri workers’ compensation system provides benefits to workers who suffer work-related injuries such as epicondylitis. The worker will need to prove that the condition has been caused or exacerbated by a work-related accident. It may be important to seek legal help from an experienced Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer to receive the rightful benefits.