Understanding Work-Related Cumulative Trauma Disorders and If Workers’ Compensation Covers Them

Top-rated workers’ compensation attorneys: Work injuries are usually experienced in workplace accidents such as slips and falls or using defective tools that went berserk. However, such injuries don’t only occur because of an accident, but also those that develop over time referred to as cumulative trauma disorder (CTD).

If you’re a worker who suffers from CTD, you know that it’s paramount to seek medical treatment as soon as you learned about your injury. The law recognizes cumulative trauma injury and enables workers’ compensation to cover it. However, you have to prove that your injury is due to your work. 

The process is quite daunting because of the complexity of the law involved. It’s crucial that you have someone skilled and knowledgeable to help you go through the legal procedures without too much hassle and trouble. Contact ODG Law and speak with one of our top-rated workers’ compensation attorneys for help. Call (818) 975-3080 and schedule a FREE consultation.

Business man with back pain in an office

What Do Cumulative Trauma Disorders Mean?

Cumulative trauma disorders come by many names such as repetitive motion disorders, overuse syndrome, repetitive strain injuries, and work-related musculoskeletal disorders. These afflictions are the biggest cause of occupational conditions in the US, preferably in California. 

CTDs are damage to the musculoskeletal system, involving muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, joints, nerves, and tendons. It mainly affects the upper extremities and is typically caused by the incorporation of risk factors, including:

  • Awkward postures which are body positions that aren’t the normal and correct resting position
  • Deficiency in recovery time which increases the risk of developing CTD
  • mechanical contraction of soft tissues in the hands
  • Quick mobility of body parts
  • Mental anxiety
  • Forceful exertions such as pushing, gripping, pulling, and lifting
  • Repetitive or recurrent motions
  • Static postures where the body doesn’t move from its position for a long period
  • Vibration, especially in the presence of cold conditions

Top-rated Workers’ Compensation Attorneys: Most Common Types of Cumulative Trauma Disorders

CTDs can be classified into tendon disorders and nerve disorders which are usually the result of similar risk factors. The most common types of cumulative trauma disorders include:

Tendon Disorders

Tendons are masses of fibrous tissues that join the muscles to the bones. Symptoms may include slight aches of the tendons, soreness, discomfort during specific movements, and at times crippling pain. Afflictions of the tendons including its protective coverings (synovial sheaths) are some of the most common types of CTDs, including:


This is a typical term for aggravation of the tendon synovial sheath due to awkward positions, force, and other risk factors. The sheath produces excessive amounts of synovial fluid, causing the sheath to swell and become painful.  

De Quervain’s Disease

This disorder is due to intense rubbing between the two thumb tendons and the sheath that they share. The inflamed tendons limit the thumb’s movement and are most likely experienced by packers, sewers and cutters, and housekeepers.

Golfer’s Elbow

This condition occurs with tasks that demand a forearm’s recurrent or vigorous rotation and simultaneous bending of the wrist. The tendons joined to the finger’s flexor muscles inside the elbow become painful. 


This is a condition when a tendon becomes swollen because of repeated tension or exertion. The persistent use of torn or inflamed tendons or lack of recovery time, won’t allow for complete recovery which can lead to permanent damage. The most affected parts include the wrists, shoulders, and elbows.

Tennis Elbow 

This injury occurs when the extensor tendons attached to the outside of the elbow suffer inflammation. It may be due to quick arm movements such as throwing boxes or other things and catching them in workplaces such as in the warehouse industry.

Trigger Finger

If the finger’s tendon sheath suffers from swelling, the tendon becomes immobile. Trying to move the finger only causes snapping and jerking. 


This is the irritation of the bursae, which are small flat sacs. It becomes filled with synovial fluid, facilitating the movement of muscles and tendons over bony areas including shoulders, knees, and elbows.   

Rotator Cuff 

It’s the most prevalent shoulder tendon discomfort, generally linked to work that requires the elbow to be elevated for long periods. Such strenuous tasks put a strain on the shoulder tendons, resulting in torn and swollen rotator cuff tendons.  

Nerve Disorders

When the nerves suffer from intense pressure because of repetitive motions required by a job, can result in nerve cumulative trauma disorders. It includes:

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

This affects the spinal nerves and heart blood vessels that extend to the arm muscles. What usually causes this condition is doing elevated tasks for prolonged periods. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

This syndrome occurs when the median nerve experiences compression while passing the wrist’s carpal tunnels. Job tasks involved are typing, sewing, assembly work, and packing to name a few. 

Raynaud’s Syndrome

Also known as “hand-arm vibration syndrome” or “vibration white finger,” is a nerve affliction usually affecting hands and fingers due to forceful gripping or using vibrating tools, especially during cold temperatures for long periods. The affected area experiences loss of sensation as well as muscle control in the hands and fingers.   

These conditions don’t just come and go and may worsen in the coming days, weeks, months, or years. You need to seek medical treatment as soon as you felt pain in the supposed affected area. Filing a workers’ compensation claim is a big help to cover medical care expenses and replace any lost wages if applicable.

Generally, insurance companies deny claims and you must be prepared for that. To counter their challenge, working with a reputable and skilled workers’ compensation attorney can give you the odds of establishing a successful claim.

Contact ODG Law for Help 

We understand your hard work and the persistence to go beyond what you can do just to earn a sufficient amount to provide your family with what they need and at the same time, provide them with a bright future. However, suffering from a serious injury will prevent you from doing so. 

Our compassionate and experienced workers’ compensation attorneys will be here to guide and back you up. We’ll ensure that you’ll file your claim on time and get the compensation you deserve.

Call (818) 975-3080 for help and schedule a FREE case evaluation. We work on a contingency fee basis.

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