When Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Strikes
Imagine two people: one is a blogger for a popular fashion magazine, and the other works on an assembly line at car manufacturing company. At first glance, these two people might not seem to have much in common. The fashion blogger might be associated with a glossy, glamorous life, while the assembly line worker is seen as representation of the hard-working middle class. Their salaries, workplaces, and coworkers are probably very different, and it’s likely that they live very different lifestyle. However, they do have something in common. Based on their jobs, both might be at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the carpal tunnel, a narrow pathway on the palm side of the wrist. This part of the wrist contains the median nerve, which controls the thumb and first three fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when activities compress the median nerve. While this can occur through certain medical conditions, like hypothyroidism or diabetes, it is most frequently caused by repetitive motion.
A repetitive motion injury is an injury that occurs when someone makes the same movements over and over again. For carpal tunnel syndrome in particular, the problem occurs when the wrist is bent, so that the hand is lower than the wrist. Athletes, especially golfers and tennis players, can be susceptible to a range of repetitive motion injuries, but many jobs also require repetitive wrist movements, too. In the workplace, common repetitive tasks can include:
- Using a cash register
- Slicing or cutting
These tasks are seen across a wide variety of professions, from musicians to store clerks, from chefs to data entry personnel to roofers. Practically anyone can suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, which is characterized by:
- Tingling or numbness, usually in the thumb, index, middle, or ring fingers, but not the pinky finger, as well as in the wrist, palm, or arm
- Hand weakness or feelings of clumsiness in the hand
- “Pins and needles” sensation in the fingers, wrist, palm, or arm
- Pain, particularly at night
Proving a Repetitive Motion Injury
When a worker is experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of their employment, it may fall under workers’ compensation. However, they must prove that the issue resulted directly from their employment. For example, if someone is a retail worker but also writes novels in their spare time, it might be difficult to determine if the carpal tunnel syndrome arose from their cash register duties at work, or from their typing hobby outside of work. Due to these complications, repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome are often a hotly contested aspect of workers’ compensation.
When an employee is suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, they may have a tough burden of proof. But when they are in constant pain or discomfort, it’s important that they seek help. As the above examples show, employers who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome are not alone. They all deserve to seek compensation for their work-related injuries, no matter their profession.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.