Lower limbs: Information for employees
If you think you may be suffering from a lower limb disorder (LLD) that may be caused or aggravated by your work, there are things you can do to help yourself and assist your employer in helping you.
What to look for
The symptoms you should be particularly aware of are:
- pain and/or
- restricted joint movement
If you experience either of these symptoms, you should seek medical advice because some lower limb injuries, if recognised early, can be treated with minimal medical intervention, while others may require surgery (i.e. meniscal tears). Conditions like osteoarthritis may require regular clinical intervention.
Report symptoms to your employer early
It is important that you report any symptoms as soon as possible because help could be available and early intervention often prevents further damage. By reporting symptoms early, your employer can assess whether there is a problem and may want to observe your job. Other workers may be experiencing similar problems and, unless you tell someone, the problem may not be realised.
What your employer can do
Once your employer knows about problems in the workplace they should be able to do something to reduce the risk of it getting worse.
Adaptations may need to be made, for example to the tools/equipment you use or the way your work is organised. These changes may be permanent and apply to a group of workers, or temporary and specific to you as an individual when dealing with a current problem or recovering from your symptoms.
Occupational health advice
Your employer may be able to refer you to an occupational health service provider for some medical help. An occupational health service provider will:
- assess your symptoms and may diagnose a specific condition, if you have one
- ask about your work tasks to try and identify the things contributing to the problem
If your workplace does not have access to this type of support, you should see your GP to explain your symptoms and the type of work that you do. Although they may or may not be able to diagnose your condition, they can provide some help and advice or may refer you to a specialist health professional – especially if some form of clinical intervention is required.
- Manual handling at work: A brief guide
- Managing upper limb disorders in the workplace
- Manual handling assessment charts
- Risk assessment of pushing and pulling (RAPP) tool
- Making the best use of lifting and handling aids