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My bursitis keeps me from doing my job. Do I have a claim?

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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As a carpenter here in Charlotte, you stay busy year-round. But lately, you’ve begun to notice some alarming symptoms that have you worried that you might not be able to continue working in your field much longer.

Every time that you’re on a ladder hammering nails overhead, you get a shooting pain in your right shoulder. In the past few days, the area where your shoulder meets your neck has become hot, swollen and very sore to the touch.

You may have bursitis

This painful condition often affects manual laborers like carpenters whose days consist of making the same repetitive motions over and over again. Extending your arm to hammer overhead joists and boards has inflamed your bursae. These small sacs are filled with fluid to cushion the joints that surround your muscles, tendons and bones.

In addition to the shoulders, other common sites for bursitis include hips, knees and elbows. Bursitis can also develop in your big toes.

Rest is an effective treatment for your condition. Powering through the pain can lead to additional trauma to the joint, however.

What if I can no longer do my job?

The longer your condition persists, the worse you will probably get. Older workers may be particularly vulnerable to bursitis.

At some point, the pain and stiffness that you suffer from your condition may render you unable to continue working at your job. Could you make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits because of bursitis?

It may indeed be possible. Below are some things that you need to do.

Get diagnosed

There could be a few conditions causing your pain and limited range of motion. You need to see a doctor to get a diagnosis of bursitis. You also need to explain to your doctor how your work duties, i.e., hammering above your head, have caused this condition to develop.

Inform your employer

All successful workers’ comp claims begin with the timely notification of the injury or worsened condition to the employer. Because bursitis happens over time, you should report it whenever your symptoms manifest and begin to cause you difficulties and pain.

What if my claim is denied?

That’s always a possibility with these type of cases. It’s easier to deny a claim for a repetitive stress injury that develops and worsens over time than it is a broken leg resulting from a scaffold fall.

You may need to retain a Charlotte workers compensation lawyer to reverse the denial of your claim.