Do you type all day at work? Is your desk ergonomically adjusted? What about your keyboard, is it ergonomic, too? If you aren’t sure about the answers to these questions, it may be time to sit down and think about them, because overuse of the wrists, fingers and forearms can lead to carpal tunnel.
Carpal tunnel is a repetitive stress injury and one of the most common injuries that workers face in offices today. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are around 900,000 new cases of carpal tunnel reported in the United States each year.
Carpal tunnel is a result of the ligaments of the wrists being overused. Swelling and inflammation compresses the median nerve that runs through the wrist, which leads to the symptoms of the injury.
What are the signs of carpal tunnel syndrome?
The signs of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Weakness when trying to grip and object
- Weakness of the wrist itself
- Pain in the wrist, forearm or hand that persists throughout the day. It may begin in the evenings when at rest as well
- Burning sensations in the hand
- Tingling sensations in the hand
The good news is that despite these frightening symptoms, carpal tunnel usually responds well to physical therapy and rest.
Will workers’ compensation cover a carpal tunnel claim?
Worker’s compensation should cover carpal tunnel syndrome if you can show that it was caused by your job. For example, if you work for eight hours a day at a computer and type most of that time, there is, at the very least, a basic connection between typing and its repetitive motions and carpal tunnel. Most of the time, carpal tunnel that can be linked to the job will be covered, but it depends on the facts of your case.
What should you do if you develop carpal tunnel?
If you develop carpal tunnel, it’s important to get medical care as soon as you can. Early treatment may help prevent you from needing more serious medical treatments, such as surgery, to repair the damage. Workers’ compensation should help cover this injury, and if it does not, you may be able to appeal that decision.