Visitor Question

Osteoarthritis from keyboarding…

Submitted By: M (New York)

I work in a very busy call center, which consists of constant and very fast keyboarding. About 2 years into my job my right hand had a great deal of pain and trouble holding things, and now pain when using my hand, which is constant. I am right handed.

I had a cortisone injection which gave me relief for a few months. It got unbearable again, so I went to an orthopedist who said it was pretty bad osteoarthritis, and I had no cartilage at the base of my thumb. I received another cortisone injection, which gave me relief (this was 7 months after the 1st injection).

Soon after I started getting pain in both my left and right hands in the same areas. My right was far worse, but the pain in my left was pretty bad. I was again given cortisone injections in each hand (this was 4 months after my 2nd injection).

It is now really bad in both hands and I have a 4th appointment set up with an orthopedic doctor for both hands again (this will be 4 months after my last visit).

I have a hand brace which I can wear at home, but it gets in the way at my job. I can’t take anti-inflammatory meds due to gastric issues. This condition seems to be worsening. I put up with it until I can’t take it anymore, then I call the orthopedist. I’m not sure what my rights are living in Nassau County, NY.

My doctor has mentioned a possible surgery, but I believe the recuperating period and physical therapy is long and my sick days would never cover it. I’m also worried that surgery could make it worse. What are my rights for getting time off for the surgery? Can I go on disability? Is my employer responsible for paying for everything? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear M,

You should be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Contact your supervisor and tell her about your injury, if you haven’t done so already. Ask to be referred to a company-approved doctor. That doctor will be called your Primary Care Physician.

From the facts you present, the doctor will recognise your injury and recommend appropriate medical treatment. This includes referring you to another company-approved orthopedist.

If the doctors believe you are unable to work at your assigned job due to your injury, your company may transfer you to another position that will permit you to engage in duties which would not aggravate your injury.

During the time you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits you will not have to pay any money out of your own pocket for medical treatment. Moreover, if the doctor believes you are unable to work at any position during the time of your treatment and convalescence, you will not be required by your employer to do so.

Learn more here: Maximizing Workers' Compensation

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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