CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome  feels like numbness or tingling in your  fingers, wrist or arm.  It  usually starts gradually and is felt in the pinky and ring fingers. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by a pinched nerve in your wrist. When you use your fingers, there are  9 tendons that make this possible. These tendons are closest together at your wrist, where the narrow carpal tunnel is. If the carpal tunnel gets too narrow, it pinches a nerve and causes discomfort and then pain.

When is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome a Workplace Injury?

Arthritis or diabetes are some causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. A number of workplace factors can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. Typically these include high frequent repetition  of hand or finger movements, such as

  • data entry typing;
  • loading dock workers, gripping and moving containers;
  • assembly line workers, whether it is squeezing the trigger at the auto plant or plucking chickens at the yard.

However, in Missouri, a medical doctor must state that your workplace activities are not just a contributing factor, but are the prevailing factor.   Prevailing factor means more likely than not , the cause.  Another way to look at the prevailing factor is, in the doctor’s opinion, the odds are 51% that work activities caused the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Your activities outside of work may also contribute to this injury.  I have seen doctors state that recreational activities such as playing the piano or bouncing up and down on a motorcycle is the prevailing factor in causing my client’s Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

What happens if the injury is work-related?

Most people with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome,  can  get relief of  the tingling and numbness and restore wrist and hand function.  As with most injuries, surgery is the last resort.  Many doctors first prescribe rest, and then physical therapy before recommending a Carpal Tunnel Release.  This surgery is done in the office, and involves snipping the ligament which crosses over the carpal tunnel.  Typically there is 2 weeks off work and then some physical therapy.

Benefits  available in Carpal Tunnel  Worker’s Compensation claims

  1.  Medical bills, including physical therapy are paid in full by worker’s compensation insurance.  You will not have any co-pay or deductible amount.
  2. Temporary Total Disability payments will be paid to you weekly for the time your doctor prescribes no work.
  3.  Disfigurement, for any scar on your wrist.
  4. Permanent Partial Disability.  As with other traumatic injuries, you will not heal 100%.  The percentage you have healed, less than 100% is the basis for your final lump sum payment.

For more details on these categories, see my  page on Worker’s Compensation Benefits