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Work-Related Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpel Tunnel Wrist Injury

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition affecting the hand and wrist. The carpal tunnel is a space in the wrist involving a rigid ligament that links the bones together.  It is not uncommon to see (CTS) develop as a work related injury.  Generally the condition comes about as a result of what is called repetitive trivial trauma.  Exposure and repetitive trivial trauma are events that will entitle an employee to work comp benefits if the employee can show:

  1. Prolonged exposure.
  2. The cumulative effect of which causes an injury or aggravation of a pre-existing condition.
  3. The nature of the employment subjected the injured employee to a hazard greater than that to which the general public is exposed. See Festa v. Teleflex, Inc., 382 So.2d 122, 124 (Fla. 1st DCA 1980).

If you are having symptoms associated with CTS and believe that your employment is the major contributing cause, contact our office to discuss your options.  We will provide a free consultation in which the facts and circumstances surrounding your injury or injuries will be discussed by calling (727) 451-6900.  Issues such as what defines prolonged exposure, what constitutes cumulative effect, and whether your employment put you a greater risk than the general public will be discussed.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (USA) indicates that carpal tunnel syndrome is “often the result of a combination of factors that increase pressure on the median nerve and tendons in the carpal tunnel, rather than a problem with the nerve itself”.  For work related CTS, the combination of factors are the nature of your employment.  CTS has been associated with the following types of physical movements:

  1. Repetitive hand motions.
  2. Awkward hand positions.
  3. Strong gripping.
  4. Mechanical stress on the palm.
  5. Vibration

In understanding some of the causes of CTS noted above, the connection with how CTS would be caused by the nature of someone’s employment becomes clear.  Types of employment in which CTS has been known to occur includes, but is not limited to: Cashiers, hairdressers, knitters, seamstress, data entry, those whose employment involves repetitive packaging of products, assembly line work, and packaging.  Such employment types would also include bakers who flex or extend their wrist while kneading dough, and people who flex the fingers and wrist in tasks such as milking cows, using a spray paint gun, and hand-weeding. Excessive use of vibrating hand tools can also cause CTS.

The following table lists common tasks and related occupations associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Job tasks and occupations associated with carpal tunnel syndrome

Job Tasks Occupations
 Grasping and tugging fabric, pulling cloth  Production sewer, tailor, garment worker/stitcher
 Milking cows  Farmer
 Handling objects on conveyor belts  Assembly-line worker
 Pushing down ratchet, using screwdriver  Mechanic
 Hand weeding  Gardener
 Using spray gun  Painter
 Using paint brush  Painter
 Scrubbing  Janitor
 Playing stringed instruments with bow  Musician
 Using laser scanner at checkout  Cashier
 Cutting, de-boning  Butcher/poultry-processing worker
 Assembling small parts  Electronic industry worker
 Turning and manufacturing keys  Locksmith
 Pressing tool into palm  Painter, carpenter, stable hand
 Pounding safety lever or stamping machine  Receipt processor
 Using air-powered hand tools  Assembly worker
 Using high powered vibrating tools  Construction worker

Another cause of CTS has been found when employees are wearing poorly fitted gloves which apply external pressure.  The most common employment types in which this cause of CTS arises are agricultural work, mechanic, and factory work.

If you are unsure whether your injury is work related or not, what benefits you would be eligible for, and how to go about the process involved, please contact us for a free consultation at 727-451-6900 or send us a confidential, no obligation email here.