Orthopedic Work Injury

Our Orthopedic Specialists Put Injured Workers in Portland on the Road to Recovery  

The physicians at Northwest Extremity Specialists help patients all over the Portland metro area recover from work-related orthopedic injuries and regain function and quality of life. Orthopedic injuries can keep you out of work, in pain, and sidelined from your usual activities. Our orthopedic specialists provide cutting-edge care to treat conditions ranging from minor and major ligament injuries to severe fractures and dislocations.  

Whether your injury requires physical therapy, injection therapy, minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery, or total joint replacement, we have the specialized knowledge and state-of-the-art equipment to put you on the path to recovery. Getting care under the workers’ compensation system can be challenging, but our providers are used to navigating these complications so injured workers can get better and get back to work. 

Orthopedic Work Injuries

Orthopedic injuries encompass any injury to the musculoskeletal system of the body. In short, this means an injury that affects the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and related tissues. 

Often, orthopedic injuries affect body parts such as the following: 

  • Hand
  • Wrist
  • Arm
  • Elbow
  • Shoulder
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Leg
  • Ankle
  • Foot

The pain and diminished mobility orthopedic injuries cause can affect your life. Getting the medical care you need offers the best chance of regaining your range of motion and living pain-free again. 

How Do Orthopedic Injuries Occur at Work? 

Orthopedic injuries happen in many ways, from sports injuries to car accidents. On the job, accidents, overexertion, and even repetitive stress can cause orthopedic injuries. 

Common causes of occupational orthopedic injuries include:

  • Falls
  • Heavy lifting
  • Muscle overuse 
  • Repetitive stress 

When orthopedic injuries occur on the job, the patient’s treatment is usually wrapped up in the complexities of a worker’s compensation claim. Although workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits like medical expense coverage and disability payments, having to follow the procedures of the workers’ compensation system can make getting care for an orthopedic injury more complicated. 

What Symptoms Could Indicate Serious Orthopedic Injuries?

Not all workplace injuries present acute, severe symptoms the injured worker can’t ignore. Rather than making a big deal over what they hope is nothing serious, an injured worker will sometimes choose to wait and see if mild soreness, stiffness, or other symptoms go away. 

When you have sustained significant damage in a work injury, these orthopedic symptoms typically don’t go away. Often, they persist or even get worse over time. 

Generally, you should see a doctor for orthopedic symptoms such as: 

  • Pain
  • Swelling or inflammation 
  • Instability 
  • Weakness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Decreased range of motion 

These symptoms may be signs of serious orthopedic injuries. For example, shoulder pain or instability may result from torn rotator cuffs and labral tears. Pain or instability of the knee may occur when you have suffered ligament damage, meniscal tears, or injury to the articular cartilage. Pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the wrist and hand could indicate carpal tunnel syndrome. 

How a Portland Orthopedist Can Help

The physicians at Northwest Extremity Specialists treat all kinds of orthopedic injuries, including common occupational injuries. Examples of the types of injuries our orthopedic specialists treat include:  

  • Rotator cuff tears 
  • Labral tears 
  • Ligament injuries 
  • Tendon injuries 
  • Joint injuries
  • Sprains
  • Broken bones
  • Stress fractures 
  • Compression fractures 

In most instances, especially when workers’ compensation claims are involved, physicians start with the most conservative treatment options. They only progress to more invasive interventions when needed. 

Potential treatments for orthopedic injuries include the following: 

Orthopedic Injury Treatment From Dr. Bowman

The treatment of work-related injuries can be complicated. You have to navigate medically complex orthopedic injuries and the intricate workers’ compensation claims process. Fortunately, Northwest Extremity Specialists is home to orthopedist Ron Bowman, MD. Dr. Bowman’s familiarity with both the workers’ compensation system and the challenging road to recovering from orthopedic work injuries makes him a knowledgeable resource for his patients. 

Helping injured workers has been a longtime passion of Dr. Bowman's. Since 2003, Dr. Bowman has focused on treating orthopedic injuries sustained at work. His practice is over 80% involved in the treatment of injured workers’ orthopedic injuries. Besides treating patients in clinical practice, Dr. Bowman serves as the Chairman of the Oregon Workers Compensation Medical Advisory Committee, advising the state administration departments on which medical treatments should be allowed under the state’s workers’ compensation system. Dr. Bowman knows the ins and outs of orthopedic medicine and treating orthopedic injuries within this system. 

Dr. Bowman sees patients in our Locust St. office location in Tigard. He performs surgeries at the Oregon Outpatient Surgery Center and Legacy Meridian Park Hospital in Tualatin, as well as Providence Willamette Falls Hospital in Oregon City.

How to Get Medical Care for Orthopedic Injuries in a Worker’s Compensation Claim 

When employees in Oregon are injured on the job, they’re entitled to benefits through the state’s workers’ compensation program. 

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Oregon 

According to the state Workers’ Compensation Division, the first step to take after suffering an injury on the job is notifying your employer. In Oregon, injured workers and their employers document the injury by filling out the “Report of Job Injury or Illness” form, also known as Form 801. Submitting this form to the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer initiates the claim for benefits.

You don’t have to wait to see a doctor until the insurance company formally accepts the claim. In fact, you shouldn’t since waiting can often make your injuries get worse. Injured employees should tell their doctors that the injury was work-related and seek their assistance in completing Form 827, “Worker’s and Health Care Provider’s Report for Workers’ Compensation Claims.” The treating physician should forward this form to the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer within 72 hours. 

The unique considerations that apply in workers’ compensation matters can sometimes pose barriers to getting the care you need. For example, workers’ compensation claims don’t go through your regular health insurance coverage, which may leave injured workers with questions about how to afford their medical care while the claim is still in progress. 

The Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division notes that injured workers should not receive a bill for their work-related medical care. The claim must go through the workers’ compensation system, which allows the insurer up to 60 days to accept or deny the claim. 

Choosing a Portland Orthopedist for Work Injury Treatment 

Selecting the right orthopedic specialist to treat a work injury can be a daunting task. It’s essential to choose a provider who, like Northwest Extremities Specialists’ Dr. Bowman, participates in state-approved workers' compensation managed care organizations. 

Injured workers should look for a doctor with a strong reputation for advocating for an early diagnosis and supporting patients through the months of progressive therapy and postoperative rehabilitation required to improve. A physician who knows the intricacies of Oregon's workers’ compensation claims process is well-suited to helping you get better and get back to work so you can put the work injury behind you.