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Epicondylitis in the Auto Industry

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Injured Employees in Chicago

Epicondylitis is a common injury in the auto industry, and can arise when forearm tendons and muscles become inflamed from performing the same actions repeatedly. Epicondylitis is also known as tennis elbow. This condition is often associated with pain and tenderness on the outer part of the elbow due to the overuse. There are different treatments that may be available for epicondylitis. These can include seeing doctors, physical therapists, and surgeons. If you developed epicondylitis on the job, you may be able to recover benefits. A seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can help you determine the extent of coverage for which you may be eligible.

Epicondylitis in the Auto Industry

Auto workers experience epicondylitis more than the rest of the population since their work often involves repeatedly lifting very heavy things. The elbow joint is held together by tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and is composed of the radius, ulna, and humerus bones. Lateral epicondylitis involves the muscles and tendons of your forearm, usually including the extensor carpi radialis brevis. The forearm extends to the fingers and wrists.

Often epicondylitis starts out with mild pain that progresses to pain or burning throughout the outer part of the elbow. Grip strength may be weakened, and the symptoms can be worse if there’s a lot of repetitive forearm work. It may be difficult to do your job, and you may not be able to do your job at all anymore.

A doctor will need to examine you to make a diagnosis of epicondylitis. You may be asked to straighten your wrist and fingers against resistance with your arm fully straightened to determine if pain results. Other tests may include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), x-rays, or electromyography. Each type of imaging can reveal important information. For example, if you have a herniated disk in your neck causing the epicondylitis, it could be revealed through an MRI.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Epicondylitis can be caused by repetitive and mechanical work in the auto industry. However, it may be difficult to diagnose because pain in the elbow could also be caused by other conditions. Moreover, a worker may participate recreational activities that could also cause epicondylitis, such as tennis. After epicondylitis is diagnosed it can be treated with oral and topical anti-inflammatory medication and cortisone shots. Many patients have success with these and other nonsurgical treatments. Generally, workers need to stop participating in strenuous work and recreational activities for several weeks in order to recover.

Workers’ compensation benefits that may be available if you developed epicondylitis at work include medical benefits and disability benefits, and a dedicated work injury lawyer can help you make a claim for them. Medical benefits should cover reasonably necessary medical care. Since in most cases surgery isn’t necessary for epicondylitis, the insurer may be skeptical if your doctor wants to order surgery as your treatment. You may be required to go to an independent medical examination. This is an exam that is not conducted by a neutral party, but by a doctor hired by the insurer. The doctor chosen by the insurer is not on your side, and in fact, some insurers choose doctors to conduct these exams specifically because they tend to provide conservative opinions about medical care or where they otherwise tend to make assessments that save the insurer money.

You may not be able to work in the auto industry for an extended period of time if you have epicondylitis. Disability benefits under the workers’ compensation system may be temporary or permanent, and they may provide coverage for partial or total disabilities.

Consult a Skilled Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Chicago

The workers’ compensation system is meant to be easier to navigate than the civil judicial system, but in practice, it can present its own challenges. If you’re concerned about epicondylitis in the auto industry in Chicago, we may be able to help. Our seasoned workers’ compensation attorneys represent auto workers in Aurora, Rockford, Champaign, and Quincy, and in Winnebago, Adams, Sangamon, Kane and Cook Counties. We also look at the circumstances of our clients’ disabilities to figure out whether there are other ways to secure relief, aside from workers’ compensation benefits. Contact Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca at 312-724-5846 or by completing our online form.