De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a common and painful condition that affects the tendons (tissue that connects muscles to bones) of the wrist. Symptoms of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis include:
- Pain near the base of your thumb
- Swelling near the base of your thumb
- Difficulty moving your thumb and wrist when you’re doing something that involves grasping or pinching
- A “sticking” or “stop-and-go” sensation in your thumb when moving it
It’s often associated with trigger thumb which s a condition that causes your fingers or thumb get stuck in a bent position. Those with trigger finger or trigger thumb may have stiffness when bending the finger(s) or hear snapping and popping when moving the finger(s).
Both of these injuries are associated with over use of the wrist and hands and very often they are related to your job duties. If that happens in Illinois, you may be able to get workers’ compensation benefits. But just having a repetitive job isn’t enough to prove a case.
The best evidence in Illinois to win benefits is to show that you had no prior symptoms with your hand or thumb or if you did, you haven’t treated for those problems for some time. You then want to be able to prove that your pain developed with an increased use of your hands/wrists on your job. You do this with your testimony which if you have a good lawyer will be detailed.
The final and most important step is having a credible doctor, preferably an orthopedic one, who will state that your work activities at a minimum contributed to your problems. It’s very important that your doctor have a detailed description of what you are doing. In other words, you can’t just say to your doctor, “I’m a welder.” They need to know how often you are lifting, what the weight is, how continuously weld, the position your hands and wrists are in, etc.
In a recent case, a data management specialist at Argonne research lab won benefits for De Quervain’s and trigger thumb. She credibly testified about how her job duties changed to more days on the clock with higher work flow and more use of her keyboard. She discussed how she used her right hand and thumb, how many keystrokes there were and what she noticed physically when she did this. Her details were so specific that they included one day where she had to do more than double the volume or normal work.
Her testimony, along with no contradicting testimony, no prior treatment and a credible supporting doctor was enough to win the day. This was all necessary because the insurance company found a doctor to state that her problems could be from diabetes or obesity.
The bottom line is that even when it’s obvious to you that your problems were caused by your job and that you should get work comp benefits, you still have to be diligent and thorough to insure you will win your case.
If you have questions about any of this or would like to talk to an experienced Illinois work comp attorney for free, you can call us any time at 312-346-5320.