Can You Get Workers’ Compensation for Bursitis?

Bursitis caused by repetitive motion injuries is listed on one in three workers’ comp claims according to OSHA. Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time. They account for over 600,000 injuries and illnesses each year.

By some estimates, employers spend as much as $20 billion a year on direct costs for MSD-related workers’ compensation. They also spend up to five times that much for indirect costs. These include the costs of hiring and training replacement workers. MSDs like bursitis take an even bigger toll on workers themselves, however. This is why it is important to recognize and treat these conditions as quickly as possible—before your bursitis escalates to the point where you can no longer do small simple tasks like cooking dinner.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these types of cases account for 33% of all worker injury and illness cases. Bursitis is a very common work-related injury because so many workers are involved in repetitive tasks.

What Is Bursitis?

Bursitis occurs when small fluid-filled sacs called bursa near your joints get irritated and swollen. This condition causes your joints to feel tender, and can often make it painful to move. Overusing or putting too much pressure on a joint on the job is the leading cause of bursitis.

Most people think this condition only affects your shoulder, but it can also affect your elbow, hip or knee. When bursitis does affect the shoulder, it is also known as impingement syndrome. This is because a swollen bursa makes it difficult or impossible to enjoy a full range of motion in the shoulder.

Who Gets Bursitis?

Those who engage in physical tasks during the course of the workday are at risk of bursitis. This is particularly true for those who have to perform repetitive tasks such as bending, climbing, crawling, reaching, twisting, and overexertion or heavy lifting. Repetitive overhead activity or lifting often is the cause of bursitis in the shoulder.

High-risk occupations for bursitis workers’ comp claims include:

  • Hotel cleaning and service staff
  • Carpenters
  • HVAC workers
  • Pipefitters
  • Plumbers
  • Nursing/hospital staffers
  • Grocery store clerks/stockers

How Do I Know If I Have Bursitis?

If you have a persistent pain that won’t go away and gets worse after every work shift, it is probably time to confirm a bursitis diagnosis. The first sign of bursitis is pain and a limited range of motion, followed by swelling and tenderness throughout the affected area.

A workers’ comp doctor will usually diagnosis you after reviewing your medical and work history and a physical examination. Sometimes, the doctor will inject a numbing medication into the affected area. Your doctor will confirm a bursitis diagnosis if the numbing medicine relieves your pain and range of motion problems. Once it is, you will receive anti-inflammatory medications and may need to complete a course of physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the area. Massage can also help.

In some cases, a doctor can inject cortisone into the joint. Eventually, surgery may become necessary. The good news, however, is that treatments other than surgery generally work 95% of the time.

Help Is Available for Your Workers’ Compensation Case

The main way to heal from this type of injury is to rest the affected area. This usually means you will require time off from work. If your employer won’t pay the workers’ comp benefits you should receive, we can help! Your benefits should cover the cost of medical treatment, as well as a portion of your lost wages. Whether you just want confidential advice that applies to your specific issue or a second opinion, we offer free consultations.

Reach out today to start appealing your claim with the help of a workers’ comp advocate. Click the button below to start your free benefits evaluation now!

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Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at and