Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common injury for those with jobs requiring repetitive hand motions. It is a nerve condition where the arm’s median nerve is compressed, which may result from thickening of tendons or other surrounding tissue.
If you believe your work duties have caused your CTS, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation, and it is important to understand the next steps to take.
Common work-related tasks
Certain occupations are more likely to cause CTS to develop. For example, data entry workers, assembly line workers or cashiers are at a higher risk for developing this condition. Work may be the cause of your condition if you hold one of these positions or a similar job that involves making repetitive hand movements for an extended period.
Symptoms of CTS
CTS usually results in a burning or tingling feeling and numbness in the hands and fingers that might travel up the forearm, and as the condition progresses it may be difficult to make a tight fist. If you are experiencing these symptoms, the next step is to see a doctor to ensure CTS is the cause of your symptoms.
Diagnosis for CTS
Having your CTS diagnosed is an important step for pursuing your workers’ compensation claim. There are tests that may be able to confirm if you have CTS. For example, the Tinel’s test and Phalen’s Maneuver evaluate how severe the tingling sensation is in the wrist, electrodiagnostic tests show the activity of the affected nerves and ultrasounds determine if the median nerve is an abnormal size.
Making the claim
In California, the process begins by reporting the injury and completing a workers’ compensation claim form. This may lead to receiving a lighter workload or different duties, as the claim signifies you are not able to perform your regular duties without discomfort. At this point, the company’s insurance company may investigate and determine the validity of the claim.