Most people underestimate just how close to injury they can be at any given time. Some go to great lengths to eat healthy and exercise on a daily basis, only to slip and fall on their way home and end up out of work for weeks, or even months, as a result. Others regularly participate in contact or extreme sports while turning a blind eye to the chances of ending up in a cast of one form or another. For the modern professional, the risk of bone and joint injuries is something to keep in mind. A simple accident could mean an extensive period of lost work—a serious matter for those without means to cover the potential loss of income.
Not sure what to look out for? Here are just a few of the most common bone and joint injuries you’re likely to face, all of which can end up being far more than a simple inconvenience.
Strains and Sprains
Strains and sprains are among the most common injuries, and both can result from practically any form of activity. Sprains occur when ligaments are torn or overstretched and are extremely common in the wrists and ankles, as well as the knees. Strains, on the other hand, occur as a result of muscle or tendon fibers being torn or stretched too far. Both can vary from being mild and annoying, to severe and extremely painful, depending upon how badly torn the ligament or muscle fibers happen to be.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, sprains and strains account for approximately 41% of all workplace injuries. A bad wrist sprain, for example, can make typing all but impossible, affecting practically anyone who works in a professional office environment.
Fractures range from hairline to compund, but any broken bone can mean a long recovery and significant time away from work. If enough outside force is placed on a bone, it will break in the same way that a plastic ruler will eventually succumb to the pressure and snap. Fractures come in a number of different varieties, ranging from a stable fracture in which the bones are barely out of place to a comminuted fracture, where the bone shatters into numerous pieces. While many circumstance can result in bone fracture, it’s typically a result of trauma associated with falling or some sort of impact. But overuse can also lead to bone damage, which is often seen in athletes in the form of stress fractures.
The number of people at risk for developing fractures is likely to double by 2030, making it a real problem that requires careful attention from today’s professionals.
No one ever plans on being diagnosed with a degenerative condition, but they often come on with no warning and can impact even the healthiest and most cautious among us. Conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis (which causes 8.9 million fractures annually) can have dramatic effects on our bones and joints. And rheumatoid arthritis, a particularly disruptive disease, can lead to severe complications if not treated properly. Many degenerative conditions are genetic in nature and thus cannot always be prevented by good health practices. But regular visits to your doctor will ensure early detection, should you begin to notice symptoms of bone or joint discomfort.
Workers’ compensation policies often cover medical expenses and help replace lost income for those who experience injuries at the work-site or as a result of performing a work-related function. But office workers are more at risk during their personal time. An injury sustained at home or while enjoying the weekend can lead to weeks or even months of missed work and lost income. Are you protected?