I get a lot of phone calls about issues with bursitis. While a lot of the injured workers I talk to may not understand their diagnosis, they are even more confused when they find out that, more often than not, Bursitis is not an injury that is covered by Virginia workers’ compensation insurance.
Bursitis Injury – Virginia Workers’ Compensation
“Bursitis happens when the bursa is inflamed. The bursa acts as a cushion between bones, tendons, joints and muscles – bursae are fluid-filled sacs (the plural of bursa is bursae). People with bursitis will feel pain at the site of inflammation. The medical word “bursa” comes from the Latin word “bursa,” meaning a purse, which is what a bursa resembles. According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary, bursitis is “inflammation of the bursa.”
“There are about 160 bursae in the human body. These little, fluid-filled sacs cushion pressure and lubricate points between our bones, tendons, and muscles near our joints. The bursae are lined with synovial cells. Synovial cells produce a lubricant that reduces friction. This cushioning and lubrication allows our joints to move easily. When a person has bursitis – inflammation of the bursa – movement or pressure is painful.”
“Overuse, injury and sometimes an infection from gout or rheumatoid arthritis may cause bursitis.”
“Bursitis can be caused by an injury, an infection, or a pre-existing condition in which crystals can form in the bursa.”
Bursitis can affect several different parts of the body, most commonly the joints (hips, elbows, shoulders, ankles). What does this mean for injured workers? Simply put, in order for bursitis to be covered by Virginia workers’ compensation insurance, it has to be the result of a specific immediate injury. Repetitive injuries (other than Carpel Tunnel Syndrome) are not covered in Virginia. For example, if you develop bursitis in your shoulder from doing heavy lifting all day long, workers’ compensation insurance would deem this to be a repetitive injury and it would not be covered. However, if you develop bursitis in your shoulder after you were struck with a piece of falling equipment that damaged your shoulder, this could be covered by Virginia workers’ compensation insurance.
If you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system or if you are unsure if your situation meets the requirements to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia,” or call our office today (804) 755-7755.