Working as a tradesperson boasts a variety of benefits, you get to stay active, do something different every day, improve people’s environments and continually develop your craft. However, being a manual worker can be hard on your joints and make you more prone to work related injuries.
If you, or someone you know is a tradesperson, read on to be aware of the common injuries you may face and how our medical professionals at Benenden Hospital can help you return to work as soon as possible.
Did you know, according to Electrical Times, that half of tradespeople have taken time off work for a work related injury or pain? Whether you’re self-employed, or a contracted tradesperson, having to take sick leave due to manual handling injuries or construction work injuries can be frustrating, especially if you must join long waiting lists to get your problem sorted.
What work-related injuries are tradespeople most likely to suffer from?
There are so many talented tradespeople out there who differ in craft and skillset. However, there’s something that Carpenters, Joiners, Plumbers, Electricians, Gardeners, Builders/Construction workers, Roofers, Plasterers, Bricklayers, Painters, Carpet/Floor Layers and Electricians all have in common: work related injuries as a result of repetitive movements.
We understand that so many areas of your body can be affected by your trade, from spinal injuries and musculoskeletal conditions to knee pain and foot problems. We’ve put together a list of common injuries and the treatments and services we can offer to get you back to work as soon as possible.
Orthopaedic treatments, including shoulder and knee replacement
We offer joint replacement surgery as part of our Orthopaedics Centre of Excellence, led by our experienced Consultants, allowing you to breathe life back into your business.
Kneeling puts pressure and weight on your knee joints which can result in pain and damage to your joints and tendons. This is further exacerbated if you suffer from osteoarthritis to the knee joint.
Steve Perry, who is a carpenter by trade, was struggling to work due to pain in his right knee. Discover how Steve’s knee arthroscopy, performed by Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr Raman Thakur, helped him return to his trade after only one month.
Ligament tears and Plumber’s knee
ACL tears and Prepatellar Bursitis, also known as plumber's knee or housemaid's knee are also caused by prolonged kneeling. Understand the different types of knee injuries which can affect not only your trade but your ability to play sport and enjoy other activities too.
Let’s not forget about shoulder pain! Our Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr Daniel Neen, performs 20-30 shoulder replacements a year compared to the average shoulder surgeon from the National Joint Registry who performs about 10. Read our article on treatment for shoulder pain to find out more about this common problem.
Impingement of the ankle
Ankle impingement is a painful condition that prevents full movement of the ankle; it occurs when the soft tissues around the ankle become pinched. If you suffer from a bad or repeated ankle sprain injury, your ankle joint will be weakened and you may suffer from anterior ankle impingement. However, if you repeatedly compress the bones at the back of your ankle from kneeling awkwardly or compress yourself in tight spaces at work, you could suffer from posterior ankle impingement.
We offer treatment for such impingement which usually takes an hour and you’ll typically go home on the same day.
Our Physiotherapy service, which is led by expert Senior Physiotherapists, isn’t just for athletes or those recovering from sports injuries. In fact, it can be used to treat many common conditions which affect anyone who is a manual worker, including:
- Musculoskeletal issues from repetitive lifting, bending, twisting or general incorrect manual handling
- Joint pain in your back or neck from looking up if you’re a painter for example, or working on scaffolding
- Other overuse injuries which can affect your elbow from gripping or drilling, your knee from kneeling or your hand and wrist too
- Rheumatic problems as a result of arthritis in your joints
- Post-operative rehabilitation including hip and knee replacements
Back pain and spinal conditions
If you’re a manual worker whose job requires repetitive lifting, twisting, or bending, you’re more at risk of suffering from back pain and spinal conditions. Lifting work materials or equipment at work, must be in accordance with safety guidelines to avoid manual handling injuries.
Taking care of your spine will help to prevent spinal conditions such as a herniated disc and back pain. We offer patients who are struggling with sometimes debilitating back pain, physiotherapy and Radiofrequency denervation, also known as facet denervation, and injections for back pain.
Most tradespeople will be on their feet for most of the day. Standing for long periods of time and wearing shoes which are narrow or heeled can cause Morton's Neuroma – a trapped nerve in the ball of your foot. Tired feet? Discover more about the common questions around podiatry treatments.
Conditions affecting your hearing
Did you know that noise-induced hearing loss is the second biggest cause of hearing loss? This is worrying in the construction injury, as you are likely to be exposed to noisy machinery and equipment whilst at a building site.
The first step to protecting your ears is to wear noise cancelling headphones or earbuds. If you are noticing sounds like ringing or whistling inside your head or ears this could be tinnitus, which is often, but not always, linked to hearing loss. Our Audiology services and hearing tests can help to assess and diagnose hearing issues. Our guide to tinnitus also includes help and expert advice on diagnosing and managing your symptoms.
Other work-related injuries
Inguinal or groin hernia
If you’re constantly putting pressure on your abdomen through carrying or pushing heavy loads due to your job or daily activities, you’re more at risk of developing a hernia. A hernia occurs where an internal part of the body pushes through a weak area of muscle or surrounding wall tissue. There are lots of different types so we recommend visiting our page to find out how our ‘keyhole’ surgery can repair your hernia.
An ingrowing toenail is a relatively common condition where the toenail grows into its surrounding skin tissue, causing ingrown toenail pain. Wearing ill-fitting shoes, sweating a lot, or injuring your toe can cause ingrowing toenails.
We offer ingrowing toenail removal as a minor outpatient procedure so you can return to your trade within two or three weeks.
How do we treat work-related injuries at Benenden Hospital?
Discover how to prevent and treat work-related strains and sprains. Our advice hub for those in the trades offers valuable insight and tips to stay safe and healthy.
Diagnosing the cause of your pain and discomfort is the first step to your patient journey. For access to our range of private tests, scans and examinations, you’ll need a referral from a healthcare professional. This could be your own GP or Osteopath, through our Private GP service or from one of our Consultants or Physiotherapists. Our tests, scans and examinations include X-rays, CT and MRI scans and Ultrasounds.
Four ways to prevent injuries or pain when at work
Evaluate your worksite for potential hazards
Are hazardous chemicals clearly identified? Are tools and supplies placed where they’re not a tripping hazard? Are there barriers around open areas (such as holes in the construction floor) to prevent accidental falls? Is wiring clearly marked?
Ensure safety equipment is being properly used and worn
Eye, ear, and head protection are absolute musts.
Manual handling training
Maintaining the correct posture and assessing how to correctly lift objects is the best way to prevent back pain.
Before working, it is important to stretch your muscles to ease any tension from your previous day of work. You could incorporate stretching breaks throughout the day to take the pressure of your joints too.
Don’t trade your health for your trade – access our private services here
Did you know you can access our private treatments and services if you’re privately medically insured? Or, maybe you have PMI cover through your employer as part of your workplace benefits.
You can also use your Benenden Health membership, self-pay for your procedure or apply for one of our Chrysalis Finance payment plans to spread the cost of your treatment. However you decide to pay for your healthcare, we’re here to ease your pain and get you back to work as soon as possible.
Published on 15 May 2023