NYS Medical Treatment Guidelines: Hand, Wrist, and Forearm Injuries

Medical Treatment Guidelines

In 2010, New York State Worker’s Compensation Board established a single standard of medical care treatment for injured workers under the New York State Medical Treatment Guidelines. To this day, these guidelines continue to evolve. With the most formalized and complex medical treatment process, New York State (NYS) has developed strong legislation and measures surrounding workers’ compensation.

So, if you’ve had a hand, wrist, or forearm injury that you think could be covered by NYS Workers’ Compensation Medical Treatment Guidelines, read this blog. Here, we’ll discuss key Medical Treatment Guideline principles and how they’re applicable to all Worker’s Compensation Medical Treatment Guidelines for hand, wrist, or forearm injuries.

What is “History of a Present Injury” and Why it Matters

For NYS workers’ compensation, determining the onset of your injury is crucial to assessing and treating your injury. That’s why it’s important to look at your medical history and record to see if there is any history of an injury (HPI). This can include the following details: nature of symptoms, pain or numbness; prior- or non-occupational injuries to the same area; and/or mechanism of injury, activity at or before the onset of symptoms.

Your past medical history will provide important context to your hand, wrist, and forearm injury that will better help NYS Medical Treatment Guidelines determine your proper treatment plan.

Let’s cover what NYS considers to be “red flags” and how this impacts you.

What Are NYS Red Flags of Hand, Wrist, and Forearm Injuries?

NYS considers any “red flags” to be certain findings in your medical history that raise suspicion of potentially serious and urgent medical conditions. Listed below are some of the red flags for potentially serious conditions of the hand, wrist, and forearm:

  • Fracture: History of significant trauma or inability to use the joint. Physical symptoms could be swelling, point tenderness, and/or hematoma.
  • Dislocation: History of deformities with or without spontaneous or self-reduction or inability to use the joint. Physical symptoms could be deformity present and/or hemarthrosis.
  • Infection: History of systemic symptoms or immunosuppression. Physical symptoms could be tenderness with motion and/or systematic signs of sepsis.
  • Tumor: History of cancer or immunosuppression. Physical symptoms could be mass of hand, wrist, or forearm, not consistent with ganglion or other benign lesion(s).

4 Common Work-Related Hand Injuries

There are several possible diagnostic criteria for a hand injury. Workers who are most susceptible to these injuries include manufacturers, construction workers, welders, farmers, and those who work in the medical field. Here, we’ll cover the most common work-related hand injuries that you can claim under workers’ compensation:

  • Lacerations: This accounts for over 63% of work-related hand injuries, making it the most common. This acute injury and trauma can require an x-ray and antibiotics.
  • Crushes: If you have a crush injury to your hand, you may experience some local pain, swelling, and sometimes bruising. This is an acute injury that in some cases may require emergency surgery and treatment, involving an x-ray and MRI/CT.
  • Avulsions and detachments: This is the third most common hand-related work injury. It can involve skin or other parts of your hand being removed. Depending on the damage done, there are multiple treatments available.
  • Fractures: This is the least common hand-related injury. Type of injury and treatment will depend on the type of fracture(s). Almost all cases will involve an x-ray. Other work-related hand injuries can include frostbite, electrical burns, puncture, penetration, sprains, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Top 3 Work-Related Wrist Injuries

Like all other injuries, NYS Medical Treatment Guidelines are specific for each diagnosis. There are several different types and severities of wrist injuries. Depending on the severity of your wrist injury, you may have to undergo surgery, physical therapy, and/or even miss work.  Here are the three most common work-related injuries:

  • Fractures: A wrist fracture may affect the ulna or other broken bones. You can expect to receive an x-ray to determine the placement and severity of the fracture.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other repetitive movements: Through high-repetition or other physical factors, one may experience the symptoms and onset of carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Torn or Stretch Ligaments: Treatment of a torn or stretched ligament will depend on the severity of the injury and whether it’s completely torn.

What Forearm Injuries are Under Medical Treatment Guidelines?

There are many forearm injuries listed under NYS MGT. It’s important to consult with your physician to determine the exact kind of injury and its severity as well as the appropriate treatment options. Some work-related forearm diagnoses may include:

  • Distal Forearm Fractures: This occurs when someone falls on an outstretched hand. Physical symptoms tend to include significant pain, swelling, and ligament injuries.
  • Scaphoid Fracture: This happens as someone falls on an outstretched closed hand that’s axial loading with a closed fist. Usually, this is either caused by a fall or an auto accident.
  • Non-Specific Forearm Pain: This frequently occurs in settings of high physical job demand or ill-defined exposure. The symptoms and diagnosis vary greatly.

How Erin, McCane & Daly Can Help: Contact Us Today

The Medical Treatment Guidelines are the standard of care for treating injured workers across NYS. They’re based on the best medical evidence and the consensus of licensed professionals. These guidelines will be crucial in determining the appropriate amount of care you’ll need.

If you’ve experienced a work-related hand, wrist, or forearm injury, we know how overwhelming the cost of medical care can be. We also know that you could be out of work for months, depending on the severity of your injury. That is why Erin, McCane & Daly (EMD) Law, is here to help.

It’s not only critical for you to file a worker’s compensation claim as soon as possible, but it’s also important for you to have experienced law professionals by your side, ensuring you receive benefits that will cover your medical costs and lost wages.

Here, at EMD Law, we want to make sure your workers’ compensation goes smoothly. As your trusted and experienced attorney, we’re here to advocate for you. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.