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3 Common Office Injuries and How to Prevent Them

occupational medicineGeneral orthopedics covers essentially anything having to do with the health of the musculoskeletal system. But in addition to this general field, many orthopedic surgeons also have narrower specialties, such as occupational medicine. Occupational medicine is the branch of preventive care and treatment that deals with workplace health and safety. These safety concerns don’t just apply to workers in industrial settings, either, as many employers and employees assume. There are plenty of ways to get hurt even in your average office setting. Here are three of the most common workplace injuries you should be aware of, as well as some tips on how to prevent them:

  1. Carpal Tunnel
  2. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common hand and wrist conditions affecting office workers. Caused by pressure to the median nerve in the wrist, its symptoms include pain, numbness, weakness and tingling in the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is often set off by repetitive motion, especially motion in which the wrist is bent so that the hands are positioned lower than the wrists -- typing or writing both being prime culprits. If left untreated, orthopedic surgery is sometimes necessary to remove pressure on the wrist. How can you prevent carpal tunnel? First of all, set up your workstation so that your forearms are parallel to the floor and your wrists won’t need to bend for you to type. Try to take frequent breaks, putting your arms to your sides and relaxing your shoulders. Also reduce inflammation by taking care of your general health -- maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, etc

  3. Low Back Pain

    About 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time, and half of all working Americans say they have back pain symptoms each year. While it’s possible to hurt your back by overexerting yourself, it’s equally common for back pain to be caused by the sedentary lifestyle often encouraged by a desk job. To prevent low back pain, maintain good posture even while sitting, get up and take a walk around the office at least every hour, and learn some simple exercises and stretches you can do discreetly while sitting at your desk.

  4. Ankle Issues

    It’s all too easy to strain, sprain or fracture an ankle (those terms referring to injuries to the muscles, ligaments, and bones of the ankle, respectively); approximately 60% of all foot and ankle injuries reported by the adult U.S. population are sprains and strains. You can lower your and your coworkers’ risk of falling and causing one of these injuries by not wearing high heels to work, not leaving drawers or cabinet doors open where they could trip someone, and not stretching cords across walkways. If you notice any unevenness in the floor or stairs that should be more clearly marked, tell your employer about them right away.

Did you know that orthopedics is an integral part of occupational medicine? Join the discussion in the comments.




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