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Keeping Tradies Healthy

I read with great concern just recently that Australia’s tradies were more likely to look after their tools, than their own health! 79% of them said they took good care of their tools compared to just 47% who said they took good care of their bodies.

Additionally, tradies are over represented in statistics for serious workplace injury.

The Australian Physiotherapy Association is right behind our tradies and supports initiatives to improve their health and workplace injury statistics.

Given the physical nature of a tradie’s work, it’s important that you go home safe, well and ready for action again the next day. To help you do this, these simple steps from the APA (which we strongly support) are something you should consider:

  • Warm up each morning before you start work with some targeted stretches, such as quadricep stretches (front of the thigh) if your work involves lots of squatting
  • Pace your workload and rate throughout the day to avoid issues related to overuse and fatigue
  • Communicate well with your workmates to ensure you are working in the most efficient and safe manner
  • Be willing to speak up if you feel uneasy about the level of risk you are exposed to at work
  • Don’t put yourself at risk of injury by rushing
  • Be willing to say ‘no’ when required to ensure both your own safety and that of others, even if it might make you unpopular at that moment. Worksite supervisors and employers are legally responsible for safe worksites and conditions and will be held accountable if there are breaches of work site regulations
  • Seek advice from your physiotherapist if you experience any aches or pains that are persistent, rather than waiting till it’s bad enough to stop you from continuing work
  • Manage muscle injuries immediately

Most Common Problems for Tradies:

1. Back pain

Back pain is a common problem that is predicted to affect up to 85% of the population at some stage in their lives. Although it can be debilitating, most can recover well if the right advice and strategies are in place. Often, the earlier you seek advice or treatment, the sooner you will get better.

Common causes of back pain include:

  • Disc buldge
  • Joint or ligament sprains
  • Muscle strains
  • Postural back pain
  • Arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Chronic low back pain

2. Shoulder pain

The shoulder is a complex ball and socket joint with more range of movement than any other joint in the body. It is therefore very susceptible to injury, particularly in sports or movements involving overhead, heavy or repetitive shoulder movements.

3. Knee injuries

Knee injuries can occur traumatically (think of an ACL rupture or meniscal tear) to a blow to the knee (sport or workplace) or fall. Secondly knee injuries can occur over time, runners knee is pain under the kneecap which occurs in physically active people from a muscle imbalance. Both traumatic and slow onset injuries can be managed though physiotherapy.

4. Ankle sprains

One of the most common causes of acute ankle pain is rolling or twisting on the ankle awkwardly. This can result in tearing of one or more of the ligaments around the ankle, which can lead to acute pain, swelling, and a loss of stability around the ankle.

Another condition which can result in ankle pain is ankle tendinopathy. This can involve a gradual onset of pain, usually related to a change of activity or demands on the ankle. Common sources for tendon pain around the ankle include:

  • Tibialis Posterior tendon (can present as pain on the inside of the ankle)
  • Peroneal tendons (can present as pain on the outside of the ankle)
  • Achilles Tendon (can present as pain at the base of the calf or heel)

Need help?

If you’d like to see one of our Physiotherapists for any of these problems, pain or injuries you can:

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