Sprains and strains are among the most common workplace injury and account for many of the more than six million injuries that happen every year. These types of injuries can occur in any workplace setting and are not only a risk to people that work outside. Sprains are injuries to the ligament and occur when joints are stretched too far from their normal position. Knees, ankles, fingers, and wrists are the most commonly sprained areas. Strains are muscle injuries and occur when a muscle is pulled too far or pulled in one direction while it’s contracted. Strains can also be caused by repetitive motion. These injuries most commonly occur in the neck, groin, back, and legs. These kinds of injuries can be minor that may heal within a couple of days to serious requiring medical attention. The best medicine, with any injury, is prevention. A few simple ways to prevent these and other injuries are:
Reduce repetitive motions
Stretch before beginning work
Take frequent short breaks to stretch
Remember to have good posture when sitting
Wear protective equipment when applicable
Use good form and techniques when lifting
If a minor sprain or strain does happen, treatment can be easy. “RICE” it.
R-Rest: do not use the affected area while its healing
I-Ice: Apply ice packs for no more than 15-20 minutes per hour
C-Compression-use an elastic bandage to support the injured area and restrict movement
E-Elevate-Elevate the injured area at least 6 inches above the heart to reduce swelling
Regardless of the type of industry you work in, you are at risk for a sprain or strain. Simple preventative steps can help you avoid injury and keep you living your best life. Remember, prevention is always better than cure!