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3 common types of repetitive strain injuries for nurses

Nurses and other professionals who work in health care face some of the biggest risks when it comes to workplace injuries. Despite efforts from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to reduce the number of health-care employees who get hurt on the job, many workers still get hurt in this industry every year.

While many types of injuries are possible, some of the most common are related to repetitive motions. Nurses typically have to do similar tasks for hours on end, and over time, this can result in muscle, joint or bone problems. Here are some of the most common issues and how to reduce the chances of getting them.

1. Carpal tunnel

Nurses often have to spend hours at a computer inputting information. This results in the inflammation of tendons in the wrists. Nurses can reduce the chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome by taking short breaks once in a while, getting a more comfortable computer mouse and keyboard and reducing the force of grip.

2. Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow refers to an inflammation in the tendons within a person’s elbows. It most often affects tennis players, but nurses are also susceptible. Taking breaks while at the computer can also help with this issue. However, it is more a result of the regular need to lift patients and equipment. Nurses need to be mindful of never overexerting their forearms. Nurses should always get help if they believe something is too heavy for them to carry.

3. Tenosynovitis 

Tenosynovitis affects a person’s arms, hands and fingers. It most often affects employees who routinely have to conduct clerical work, which includes nurses. The easiest way to combat this condition is to ensure the workstation is ergonomically designed. That may require employees to speak with their supervisors about obtaining desks and chairs that are better suited for prolonged work periods. Additionally, taking the proper amount of rest while working is also advisable. 

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