Sprains and strains are common injuries for employees across industry lines. Sprains result from stretches or tears to a ligament (tissue that connects multiple bones at a joint), while strains are caused by stretches or tears to a muscle or tendon (tissue that connects muscle to bone).
Both sprains and strains can happen suddenly or over an extended period of time (e.g., days, weeks or even months). The likelihood of an employee like you experiencing a sprain or strain injury largely depends on the nature of your workplace tasks and responsibilities.
Specifically, tasks that require excessive force, frequent repetition or awkward positioning can elevate your risk of experiencing a sprain or strain injury on the job. What’s more, ignoring a sprain or strain injury can lead to it worsening into a long-lasting, painful problem.
Nevertheless, there are several precautions that you can take to help lower your risk of experiencing a sprain or strain injury at work. Consider the following guidance:
- Practise healthy habits—Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help keep your bones and muscles strong, reducing your risk of injury. Be sure to take care of your body by eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, drinking plenty of water and keeping a proper sleep schedule.
- Stretch it out—Tightened muscles are increasingly vulnerable to strain injuries. Try to loosen up before your work shift with some light exercise, followed by a full-body stretch session. Consider spending extra time stretching out muscles that you use frequently during work tasks.
- Follow workplace protocols—Be sure to follow all workplace health and safety protocols regarding ergonomics, body mechanics, machine usage and lifting techniques to help minimise your risk of injury.
- Know the signs—By recognising the early symptoms of a sprain or strain injury, you will be able to detect the injury sooner and make necessary workplace adjustments before it becomes a serious concern. Common signs of a sprain and strain injury include excessive fatigue, discomfort, swelling, tenderness and limited range of motion.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of a sprain or strain injury, make sure you inform your supervisor and talk to a doctor.
This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as compliance or legal advice. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly. Content by Zywave, Inc. provided by TH March.