Some anthropologists believe that the structure of the human hand (including the wrist) is one of the keys to our species’ amazing success on planet Earth. While other primates possess opposable thumbs, only human beings can bring our thumb all the way across our hand to our little finger. We can flex both the ring finger and the little finger toward the base of the thumb, allowing for a powerful grip and an amazing ability to hold and manipulate tools. Unfortunately, the ability to perform such fine and intricate tasks also sometimes leads to the most common WEAR and TEAR™ Injury: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What is it?
Generally speaking, CTS is a hand and arm condition that causes numbness, tingling, and even loss of strength and dexterity in the hand. The condition is caused by a pinched nerve in your wrist. A number of factors, including the anatomy of your wrist, the existence of various underlying health conditions, and patterns of hand movements (in the workplace) can contribute to or cause CTS.
The carpal tunnel itself is a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist that protects one of the primary nerves to your hand and the nine tendons that allow you to bend your fingers. Sometimes, the nerve becomes compressed, causing numbness, tingling, and eventually, hand weakness.
Physicians have identified a number of risk factors associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. They include the following.
Anatomic factors: A wrist fracture or dislocation that alters the space within the carpal tunnel can create extraneous pressure on the median nerve.
Sex: CTS is more common in women, perhaps due to the fact that the carpal tunnel area is relatively smaller in women than in men.
Chronic health conditions: Some illnesses, such as diabetes, increase your risk of nerve damage, including damage to your median nerve. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the tendons in your wrist, exerting pressure on your median nerve.
Workplace conditions: Working with vibrating tools or on an assembly line that requires prolonged or repetitive flexing of the wrist may create harmful pressure on the median nerve or worsen existing nerve damage. Several studies have shown an association between intense computer or keyboard use and CTS.
Initial symptoms of CTS include numbness or tingling in your thumb, index, and middle fingers that comes and goes. The tingling may also be associated with discomfort in your wrist and hand. The sensation may extend from your wrist up your arm. Many people experience weakness in the hand, and a tendency to drop objects.
Conservative treatment is usually begun in patients with mild or moderate CTS. Doctors typically prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and wrist splints. This may be followed by cortisone injections, which can provide effective – although only temporary – relief. In more advanced cases, surgery has been effective. The surgical procedure is called carpal tunnel release. The surgery is minimally invasive and usually done under local anesthesia.
Many WEAR AND TEAR™ Injury Claims, Including Those Involving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Can Be Successful
If you have worked as a secretarial or data entry employee, a landscaping worker, in the construction trade, or in any field that requires significant, quick movement of the hands and wrists, and you’ve experienced pain and tingling in your hands, then you may have compensable CTS. In many cases, a diligent worker can recover workers’ compensation benefits, including medical care, for the slow, insidious, WEAR and TEAR™ to hands and wrists.
You Work Hard; Now Let Us Work Hard For You!
While CTS claims are not always easy to establish, at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo, we have both the skill and experience required. We have helped many hard-working folks just like you. Call or contact Petro Cohen for a free consultation. Talk with a hard-working New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer to find out how to recover money to pay for your medical treatment, physical therapy, and lost earnings. We can be reached by phone at 888-675-7607 or complete our online form. We look forward to discussing your situation with you.