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What jobs are most likely to cause tendonitis?

The effects of repetitive stress on the body can manifest itself in a number of ways. When it comes to the workplace, one of the most common repetitive stress injuries is tendonitis. Tendons are the tissue in our bodies which connect muscle to our bones. The overuse of specific body parts can often introduce stiffness and pain, typically around joints, which is associated with a swelling of the tendon due to it becoming irritated from constant repetitive motion. This is called tendonitis.

Incidence rate of tendonitis cases
Incidence rate of tendonitis cases involving days away from work by private industry sector, 20011.

Awkward, repeated actions performed with the arms, shoulders and back can frequently generate the level of strain required to induce tendonitis. This is reflected by NIOSH data which shows manufacturing and construction to be the industries most affected, followed by public utilities. Employees working these types of jobs are frequently asked to perform physical tasks that involve equipment or procedures which force their bodies into unnatural positions, increasing their chances of injury 2.

Distribution and number of tendonitis cases
Distribution and number of tendonitis cases involving days away from work in private industry by occupation, 20013.

The chart above supports the fact that those who are directly involved in the day to day operations of a manufacturing plant or act as laborers in general assembly line work are the most affected by tendonitis. Support staff also see a high rate of the condition due to the use of keyboards and other manual implements, which can irritate the tendons in the wrist and forearms.

Tendonitis does not have a specific treatment. What is usually recommended is for those suffering from this type of occupational injury to refrain from participating in the activities which caused the inflammation and swelling in the first place. This can be combined with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and occasionally braces for addition joint support.

1NIOSH 2004. Worker Health Chartbook 2004, NIOSH Publication No. 2004-146. Retrieved October 27, 2008 from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-146/detail/imagedetail.asp@imgid109.htm
2Ergoweb 1995, Ergoweb Case Study - Rear Vehicle Seat Assembly. Retrieved October 27, 2008 from http://www.ergoweb.com/resources/casestudies/detail.cfm?id=47.
3NIOSH 2004. Worker Health Chartbook 2004, NIOSH Publication No. 2004-146. Retrieved October 27, 2008 from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-146/detail/imagedetail.asp@imgid108.htm

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