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Workplace Injury of the Week: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

carpal_tIs your company (or are you, personally) experiencing disability leaves because of carpal tunnel syndrome? You’re not alone. It’s one of the most common workplace disability conditions.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition in which thickened tendons or ligaments in the wrist compress the median nerve that runs from the forearm to the hand. In carpal tunnel syndrome, inflammation, swelling or fluid retention may compress the nerve, causing pain and numbness in the fingers, particularly the thumb, index and middle fingers, as well as serious hand weakness.

Risk factors for carpal tunnel include any type of activity that involves highly repetitive wrist motion, holding the wrist in awkward positions for sustained periods of time, forceful pinching or gripping, and work-task stresses. Examples might include working for long periods of time with power tools or performing heavy assembly line work. Women are three times more likely to develop the syndrome than men because of their typically smaller carpal tunnel.

The median return-to-work duration for carpal tunnel syndrome is 43 days, but this can vary widely depending on treatment and other case management factors.

Want to know more? Read more about this common workplace injury and see typical disability durations and other physician-reviewed information at mdguidelines.


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