Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Dreaded Soft Tissue Injury

In the past decade there has been a steady increase in claims that are affectionately known as Soft Tissue injuries. Soft tissues injuries have to do with tendons, ligaments and muscles. This is also known as MSD (Musculoskeletal Disorder) and is specifically sprains, strains, tears to the "soft tissues" of the body. In the last ten years the MSD claims have increased to 55% of all workers comp claims and accounts for 65% of all workers comp cost. So with the increased amount of claims in this area we will take a closer look at what these injuries really are, how they happen in the workplace and finally how they are taken advantage of in the terms of fraudulent or exaggerated claims.

First take a look at what makes up the MSD injuries. The soft tissue injuries are sometimes caused by chronic stress place on a joint, or in some instances can be caused by an injury by a single blow. Some basic injuries are the sprain, the strain, contusion, tendinitis or bursitis:
  • The strain is the stretching and/or tearing of tendons and muscles.
  • The sprain is the stretching and/or tearing of the ligaments, the ligaments are strands that connect the bone to the body. Because connective tissues such as ligaments must withstand a great deal of stress in day to day activities and have a relatively low blood supply, injuries can take a very long time to heal, and sometimes require surgery.
  • Contusion is basically a bruise where small blood vessels are broken and blood is trapped beneath the skin.
  • Tendinitis is the inflammation of the tendons. Tendons are the structure that connects the  muscles to the bone.
  • Bursitis is an inflamed bursa (sac) which helps relieve friction in joints.
In the case for all of these injuries the common symptoms are pain, swelling, redness and instability in the given area. The reason for concern is that  these injuries are the chosen injury of the fraudulent claimant. They are hard to disprove and easy to get away with. Not only are they used more often in fraudulent claims but the are often the claims that are most exaggerated. So follow the next couple of blogs as we look at  how theses injuries happen in the workplace, how they are exaggerated and what are the best ways to discover  or disprove the severity of the injury.

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