December 6, 2018 - Holly Foxworth

3 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Sprain/Strain Injuries


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sprains and strain injury accounted for 43 percent of the 1.3 million injuries and illnesses in private industry that required recuperation away from work. 

But, could we be sabotaging the recovery progression of sprain/strain injuries by the manner in which they are managed?

Here are the three most common ways sprain/strain injuries can be negatively impacted by action and inaction, following the occurrence, along with a solution for best practice outcomes.

1. Delayed Assessment

Have you ever had an employee experience what they thought was a minor “tweak”, only later to become a big problem?

Many times employees will fail to report an injury, believing the incident was insignificant.

They may even complete their shift, but upon returning home, the muscles become sore with the onset of discomfort.

Left to their own judgment, they seek costly emergency treatment resulting in:

  • Extensive diagnostic testing,
  • Prescription medications,
  • Specialty physician referral, and
  • Restricted work status.

However, by teaching employees to immediately report their injuries, employers have an opportunity for their condition to be medically assessed with the provision of an appropriate treatment plan.

Remember, your best defense against avoiding recordable outcomes is a strong offense of immediate intervention.

2. Counterproductive Treatment

When employees attempt to self-treat sprain/strain injuries, they commonly rely on the idea of “something is better than nothing”.

You may hear recommendations such as “walk off the pain” or “put on a brace”.

Unfortunately, these practices can ultimately exacerbate the injury and negatively impact the recovery progression.

While most sprain/strain injuries can be effectively treated with first aid measures including initial ice application, over the counter pain reliever medications, and light range of motion stretching, each injury will be different.

Key Takeaway:  When developing an appropriate plan of care, each employee should have their condition appropriately assessed by a licensed medical provider, who will take into account the employee’s personal medical history when recommending treatment interventions.

3. Non Compliance

Hooray, your employee has a treatment plan and you’re done, right?  Wrong!

One of the most frustrating end results for a safety representative is to tirelessly work to obtain a first aid outcome by advocating for conservative treatment, yet the employee fails to properly implement and effectively utilize the measures, resulting in a negative outcome.

Some of the most common errors include:

  • Frequency of ice application
  • Dosage mistakes with the administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS)
  • Lack of proper elevation.

Whatever your employee’s treatment plan consists of, make sure they not only understand the treatment instructions, but also the importance of following them.

Continued monitoring throughout their recovery is instrumental for a safe and expedited return to work!

Looking to Minimize Your Sprain/Strain Injury Outcomes?

Don’t leave your outcomes to chance when incident case management can make a real impact on your recordables.

Axiom Medical understands the importance of ensuring the right treatment at the right time with the right outcome!

With over 65 % of cases managed in-house with first aid measures, our incident case management will significantly impact your OSHA recordable outcomes. We provide immediate intervention following the injury and closely monitor the employee’s recovery progression.

From pre-hire to post-separation, Axiom sees employee occupational health as a journey you shouldn’t have to travel alone!

Give us a call at +1 (877) 502-9466 or fill out our contact form to find out just how easy an effective occupational health program can be!

Holly is an ER nurse by trade, but loves content marketing.  She was born outside the box and believes everything is better with “sprinkles and sparkles”.  She is passionate about impacting lives and uses marketing as her platform for sharing practical solutions to address real life occupational health challenges.

Find out more about our Injury Case Management services or our Occupational Health Programs.


Posted in Injury Case Management