Work Related Tennis and Golfers' Elbow Compensation Claims

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"Epicondylitis" refers to inflammation of tendons and muscles around the elbow. The condition results in pain in the forearm and wrist and although it usually heals with rest, in some cases it may become chronic and result in the need for surgery.

Although the condition is most commonly associated with sporting activity – it is often referred to as tennis elbow or golfer's elbow – it is also a hazard of a number of manual handling and repetitive tasks in the workplace and, as such, it may be possible for sufferers to make an industrial injury compensation claim for the condition.

Epicondylitis in the Workplace

Without sufficient intervention epicondylitis, as a repetitive strain injury (RSI), can become a chronic condition and result in persistent and disabling pain around the outside of the elbow.

The condition can occur in many settings where overuse or improper use of the elbow joint is likely to become an issue. However, there are a number of jobs where workers may be at particular risk of developing the condition. These include the following:

  • Plumbers
  • Mechanics
  • Engineers
  • Painters
  • Plasterers
  • Decorators
  • Factory workers
  • Farm workers
  • Gardeners
  • Chefs
  • Machine operators

Types of Epicondylitis – Tennis Elbow and Golfer's Elbow

There are two types of epicondylitis: lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) and medial epicondylitis (golfer's elbow). Both involve inflammation of the tendons and muscles around the elbow joint; however, tennis elbow affects the outside of the elbow and forearm, whereas golfer's elbow affects the inside of the forearm and elbow.

Furthermore, differences in the two conditions can be broken down in the following ways:

  • Tennis Elbow/ Lateral Epicondylitis : Pain and inflammation typically affects the outside of elbow and forearm, especially when gripping, lifting, straightening the wrists or reaching for objects. Commonly affects plumbers, mechanics, painters and cooks.
  • Golfer's Elbow/Medial Epicondylitis : Pain and inflammation typically affects the inside of the elbow and the forearm, especially when rotating the forearm or forming a fist. Other symptoms include weakness, stiffness, soreness and possible swelling. Commonly affects gardeners, assembly line workers, mechanics

Treatment

In most cases epicondylitis will heal without treatment. However, if workers suffer repeated exposure to triggers, the condition is more likely to become chronic, resulting in pain, suffering, reduced capacity and time off work.

In fact, according to Occupation and Epicondylitis: A Population-Based Study, "epicondylitis is associated with prolonged sickness absence in 5% of affected working-aged adults".

Whenever possible, employers must remove at-risk or symptomatic workers from hazardous situations, either by providing new equipment, placing them in a new area of work or allowing for the period of sick leave necessary to ensure spontaneous recovery. Possible useful treatments include the following:

  • Rest
  • Physiotherapy
  • Regular application of cold compress
  • Pain relief
  • Surgical removal of the damaged tendon

Compensation Claims for Work-Related Epicondylitis

In order to claim compensation for either medial epicondylitis or lateral epicondylitis, it will be necessary to prove the following:

  • That the condition was caused by some work-related activity
  • That your own negligence or bad practice was not solely responsible
  • That the condition has caused you harm and financial loss

Claims for Work-Related Tennis and Golfer's Elbow

If you have been diagnosed with either form of epicondylitis and believe that the condition has been caused by your work, you may be able to claim compensation for pain, suffering, lost earnings and medical expenses.

Thompsons has offices across Scotland. If you would like more information about how our industrial injury solicitors may be able to help you make a claim for work-related golfer's or tennis elbow, contact us today on 0800 331 0891. Alternatively, why not click through to our FAQs page for more information about making a claim for your industrial injury.

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