Injuries to the shoulders often happen at work, because work requires repetitive overhead motion, lifting, and use of the arms in strenuous positions. This repetitive trauma to the shoulders can cause a rotator cuff to tear. The rotator cuff is a set of three tendons that hold the ball of the humerus close to the clavicle, so the arm can lift with force while moving in many different directions. Most often, it is the supraspinatus which tears, because it is the tendon which is affected by overhead lifting. Falling at work can cause a tear in the labrum, or a fracture of the clavicle. Many of these types of injuries will need to be repaired with an arthroscopic surgery performed by an orthopedic surgeon, or an open reduction with internal fixation (a plate and screws). The surgery does not always result in full recovery; sometimes there is a loss of motion, a loss of strength, or residual pain and numbness.
Shoulder injuries can cause:
Shoulder surgeries usually result in some permanent impairment, even if you have returned to full duty. Under Kentucky law, a permanent impairment, calculated by a physician according to the A.M.A. Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 5th Ed. means that the injured worker should be awarded monetary compensation for the injury. If you have had a shoulder injury because of an injury at work, call me to find out if you can be paid for permanent impairment. If the injury has caused you to lose your job, or permanent restrictions which force you to retire, you should definitely call me to find out your options. You may also have to file for Social Security disability, or for Kentucky Retirement Systems disability, if you are no longer able to work because of a shoulder injury. A settlement in your workers' compensation case can help you to support yourself and your family if you have to retire early due to disability, or if you have to find another type of work because of lifting restrictions.