So Long Back Injuries…Hello Shoulder and Knee Claims!

by | Oct 2, 2018 | Injury Case Management

Remember the days when you thought back injuries were your biggest weakness?

According to new research, your biggest threats may now be shoulder and knee injuries!  Read on to learn just how dangerous and costly an untreated injury can be, and the three common exercises you can do to combat them BEFORE they escalate!

Are You Taking Care of Your Knees and Shoulders at Work?

A research article published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (August 2018) authored by Dr. Kalia and others from Johns Hopkins University studied low back, shoulder, knee injuries and other claims for a national beverage company from 2008-2015.

The authors report a significant decrease in low back injuries from 2008 to 2015, but an increase in the number of shoulder and knee injuries on a proportionate basis across all injuries.

Dr. Kalia indicates there may be several reasons why low back claims have decreased to include better safety management, awareness and ergonomic aids.

Research from the IPCS database supports Dr. Kalia’s findings in that when studying the changes in absolute shoulder and knee strength from 2008 to 2017, IPCS reports a substantial decrease in absolute strength during the last 10 years and the younger worker (20-29 years of age) showing the greatest decrease (see chart below).

This could be another reason why the shoulder and knee claims increased proportionately with Dr. Kalia’s study.

If this is the case, shouldn’t we focus on strengthening the muscles around our joints?

What exercises might help with this process?

3 Exercises to Strengthen Muscles Around Joints

The Bodyweight Squat

 Protects: Knees, ankles and hips

  • Stand in front of a chair or bench with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower yourself to the seat of the chair or bench, touch lightly and return to stand.
  • Key Tip: Keep your knees in line with your feet and never let them extend past your toes or you will risk injury.

Assisted or Unassisted Pull-Up

 Protects: Shoulders and elbows

  • For the assisted pull-up, stand on the platform of a pull-up machine and grab the machine’s handles securely. For an unassisted pull-up, start at the bottom of a pull-up position.
  • Begin with your arms fully extended, adjust the weight on the machine as needed and pull all the way up until you shorten your joint angle.
  • Key Tip: As you preform the move, remember to breathe normally.

The Push-Up

 Protects: Shoulders and elbows

  • Start at the top of a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart, keeping your body in a straight line.
  • Lower your chest toward the floor, then extend your arms and push back to the starting position.
  • To modify the position, do a push-up on your knees or while standing, using a bar or wall.
  • Key Tip: Take care to not sag your back while doing a push-up.

Is There A Way to Prevent and/or Manage Injuries Effectively?

 Absolutely!

Let’s start with prevention.

The key to avoiding injury starts with preventing the “wrong hire”.

Integrating a functional capacity evaluation will help to determine an employee’s ability or capacity to do the work activities of the position for which they are being hired to do, or asked to do.

It compares their health status and body functions and/or structures to the demands of the job and the work environment.

Consider it a “try before you buy” type of solution.  Who can’t love that concept?

(When it comes to effectively managing injuries, your best defense is immediate intervention.  The longer an injury is left untreated, the worse the outcome will be.)

Take the Safe Route with a Single Source Provider of All Things Employee Health Management

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

Our nationwide occupational health programs help ensure a healthy workforce that is capable of performing all tasks expected of each employee.

Should an incident occur, we’re standing by with in-house Nurse Case Managers, 24/7, who are able to treat of 65% of cases in house with first aid measures.

This service is an immediate intervention, allowing you to provide optimal outcomes and help the employee return to work in an expedited manner.

Interested in learning more about how we can help you hire the “right employees” for the job?  What about discovering an easy way to lower your number of annual recordable injuries?

Contact us today by filling out the form above or give us a call at+1 (877) 502-9466

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