As people grow older, their bodies undergo changes that can affect their overall health and well-being. One area that often goes unnoticed is the increased risk of repetitive stress injuries that come with age.
It is important for all workers to explore the relationship between age and repetitive strain injuries. Workers and employers should understand why older individuals are more susceptible to these injuries.
An overview of repetitive stress injuries
Repetitive stress injuries, also known as repetitive strain injuries, occur when people perform the same motion or activity repeatedly. This involves putting stress on muscles, tendons and joints. Common examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow and rotator cuff injuries. These injuries can cause pain, discomfort and limited mobility, affecting both work performance and daily activities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2021, adults between 50 and 64 reported higher rates of repetitive strain injuries in comparison to other age groups.
The impact of age
With age, several factors contribute to the increased risk of repetitive stress injuries. Muscles and tendons naturally become less flexible and weaker over time. This reduced flexibility and strength make them more vulnerable to injuries when performing repetitive tasks. Aging can lead to degenerative changes in joints, such as arthritis and joint deterioration. These changes make joints more susceptible to the strain caused by repetitive motions, increasing the risk of injuries. Also, bodies take longer to recover.
When workers get older, the risk of developing repetitive stress injuries increases. However, by understanding the impact of age and implementing preventive measures, people can minimize the chances of experiencing these injuries. Prioritizing ergonomics, taking breaks, practicing proper body mechanics, maintaining fitness and listening to one’s body are key steps toward a healthier and more injury-free life, regardless of age.