Tenosynovitis Claims

Tenosynovitis is an injury to the sheath covering and lubricating a tendon (the tissue that attaches muscle to bone) allowing it to move freely and smoothly. The condition usually involves some damage (tendonitis) and while its exact cause is unclear, it can result from the overuse of muscles and their connected tendons. 

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Tenosynovitis is common in middle-aged adults, particularly in people who are quite sporty. Problems may be more common if your work involves repetitive movements but any activity that requires repetitive and often forceful motions of the forearm, wrist and hand combined, increases the risk of developing tenosynovitis.

So anyone from a manual labourer or construction worker to those working on an assembly line, gas fitters, electricians or warehouse operatives to office workers could be at risk of developing tenosynovitis. 

Several medications are used to treat tenosynovitis. These can include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce inflammation and pain, corticosteroids which are injected directly into the sheath and antibiotics if the tenosynovitis was caused by a bacterial infection. Surgery may be used for severe tenosynovitis. The surgery will release the tendon and allow it to move freely. 

Your employer has a duty to protect your health and safety, especially if you are involved in repetitive, heavy manual work. They should comply with the requirements of the appropriate regulations for breaks and other preventative measures and equipment such as wrists rests for keyboards. If your employer has failed in that duty to protect you in the workplace you are well within your rights to bring a claim for compensation against them.
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How do I make a tenosynovitis claim

If you or a relative are experiencing problems which you suspect may be a result of repetitive injuries sustained at work, the first thing to do is see your GP to get a confirmed diagnosis of tenosynovitis. This is not only essential to determine what treatment and rehabilitation you might need, but also gives us a much firmer basis of a recognised and diagnosed condition on which to proceed with your claim.

The symptoms of tenosynovitis may appear only gradually, so for a claim to have any prospect of success there needs to be a viable diagnosis and a causative link between the condition and the nature of your work. There are strict time limits within which you must claim, but if successful your claim will help compensate for any loss of earnings and meet the cost of any care or future treatment and rehabilitation you may require.

It is sometimes possible to get legal advice through your trades union, which may have arrangements in place with a specified panel solicitor. You are not obliged to use the firm proposed and can ask any law firm to represent you in these cases.

However, these claims are as complex and demanding as any medical negligence or personal injury case. Whichever firm you select, is important that they specialise in this work and have good, established, relationships with the appropriate medical and other experts whose evidence will be crucial to your claim.

If I have a tenosynovitis case

The exact cause of tenosynovitis is unclear. There are variations of tenosynovitis such as De Quervain’s tenosynovitis which affects the thumb and stenosing tenosynovitis (sometimes called Trigger Finger) which usually affects either the middle finger, fourth finger or the thumb).

Symptoms include pain, stiffness, aching, swelling and an inability to straighten the affected area, or a loss of grip or strength.

Most medical authorities believe that tenosynovitis is usually caused by repetitive movements or overuse of tendons and muscles. However, it is often difficult to prove that the injury was a result of your work. Establishing causation (linking the condition to your work) is crucial in these cases.

The onus of proving that the employer was at fault rests with the injured party. However, employers are still obliged to comply with the appropriate regulations for breaks and other preventative measures and equipment such as wrists rests for keyboards. If your employer has failed to do those things, it's likely we can prove their negligence and hence make a successful claim.

Access Legal's expert tenosynovitis lawyers will listen to your story to see whether you do have a case. Don't worry about the cost and don't be put off seeking our help because you are concerned about your future employment. The law protects employees who make a valid claim and we will always find ways to help you, including No-Win-No-Fee.

More about tenosynovitis claims

Tenosynovitis is common in the tendons of the thumb (de Quervain's tenosynovitis) but the wrists, hands, and feet can also be affected. Frequently, there may be several repeated small injuries or tears to the tendon itself as well as the damage to the synovium. If these injuries continue or are left untreated, they can lead to irreversible tendon damage.

Tenosynovitis can be caused by calcium deposits near the origin point of the tendons, bacterial infection, or by adopting an incorrect or poor posture. However most medical authorities believe it is mainly due to the overuse of muscles and their connected tendons.

The problem seems to be common in middle-aged adults, particularly those who are quite sporty, but any activity that requires repetitive and often forceful motions of the forearm, wrist and hand increases the risk of developing tenosynovitis, no matter what your age.

Repetitive movements at work like lifting heavy loads or operating heavy machinery are obvious causes, but those movements need not be especially forceful. Any sort of work involving repetitive movement such as writing, typing or using a computer mouse, could cause tenosynovitis.

If a work-related task is responsible for your tenosynovitis you may be able to claim for financial losses as well as medical and rehabilitation costs. Such claims can be complicated, so it is advisable to use the services of a solicitor experienced in these cases.

Tenosynovitis government help and benefits

An independent body called The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC) advises the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on whether a disease should be included in the list of ‘prescribed diseases’ (of which there are presently around 70) and therefore whether anyone who suffers from such a condition is entitled to help from the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit Scheme (IIDB).

The latest IIAC report published in June 2015 says that it can find no evidence to support adding tenosynovitis or any specific occupational exposure to the list of prescribed diseases for which Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit is paid.

There have been many recent changes to benefits, such as personal independent payments (PIP) gradually replacing disability living allowance, but in general government support is still either means-tested, based on current income and savings, or based on the National Insurance (NI) contributions and an assessment of the level of your disability.

Government help and benefits for tenosynovitis therefore is restricted to those based upon the nature and the severity of the disability you experience as a result of suffering tenosynovitis, not the disease itself. To find out exactly what you are entitled to, speak to your lawyer or trades union representative or visit your local Jobcentre Plus. Other useful sources of help and information include Arthritis Research UK.

Industrial Diseases FAQs

Tenosynovitis Case Study

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Settlement for De Quervains tenosynovitis

Our client was employed as a machine operative. His job involved handling breakfast biscuit food products once they had been cooked and packing them.

He was required to collect rolls of film from the warehouse and lift and thread this through a packing machine. The product was then placed into a skillet like the heavy cast iron pans you might see on a supermarket shelf.

Boxes of skillets were brought to the line on pallets and our client would manually lift each box from the pallet to carry it to the packing line. He would then need to turn the box onto its side, open it, then reach into the box and with a pinch grip take out a batch of skillets and manually place them onto a conveyor belt.

As a result of the repetitive and strenuous nature of this work our client developed pains in the left side of his neck, left shoulder and lower lumbar area. He also developed De Quervains tenosynovitis, which is common in the tendons of the thumb but can also affect the wrists, hands, and feet.

We obtained independent medical evidence to confirm these diagnoses. Responsibility for our client's injuries was disputed by the employer so we therefore commenced court proceedings and obtained additional evidence in the form of statements from his colleagues in support of our client’s claim.

Given the persuasive weight of the medical and other evidence we presented, the claim was settled shortly after proceedings had been commenced.

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Tenosynovitis Claims

Access legal's expert lawyers can arrange meetings to suit you over the 'phone, at one of our offices or at your home. We’ll give you free initial advice and can often pursue your claim on a no-win-no-fee basis.

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