Carpal tunnel syndrome is an injury that affects a lot of workers. Some blame prolific computer usage in many workplaces in Des Moines and throughout the country. But carpal tunnel syndrome is not an affliction of computer users only – a host of occupations and job duties can cause this painful condition.
Employers may take steps to prevent this ailment by offering ergonomic work settings and with visible safety information. Read on to learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome’s causes and eligibility for benefits if afflicted by this workplace injury.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common conditions affecting the hands. In fact, a study published in 2012 in the journal Work notes that carpal tunnel release therapy is “the most commonly performed surgery of the hand with estimates of 200,000 to 500,000 procedures performed annually in the United States.”
The carpal tunnel is a passage at the bottom of your hand. Nearby tendons can become irritated and swell from overuse, which closes the passageway and compresses the median nerve. This can cause grasping or typing to become painful. The irritation and swelling increase gradually, starting as dull pain and tingling.
Risk Factors for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Based on a study of 1,107 workers from a variety of industries, the study in Work found certain factors increased the likelihood of an employee being afflicted with carpal tunnel syndrome. These included forceful gripping, lifting and use of handheld vibrating power tools. Thus, workers exposed to these risk factors may be at greater risk of developing the condition.
Further, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports women are three times more likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome than men. This is because the passageway in a woman’s hand is smaller than a man’s and can become swollen closed more easily and quickly. Another group of both men and women highly at risk are those with metabolic disorders, like diabetes, that compromise the body’s nerves.
According to the NINDS, some industries in which carpal tunnel syndrome is most common include:
- manufacturing; and
- meat packing.
In fact, it makes note that assemblers are three times more likely to develop the condition than data-entry personnel.
Eligibility Requirements for Workers’ Comp in Iowa: Do you qualify?
Workers in Des Moines have rights. They are eligible for workers’ compensation if they suffer an injury or develop a condition at work. So while many think of workers’ comp as paying benefits to workers injured in accidents, even those who develop conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome over time may qualify if the injury is work-related. Even employees with pre-existing conditions exacerbated by conditions at work may be covered.
Of course, every situation is unique. Workers can consult an attorney for further details regarding their specific eligibility. Check out our free guide, Iowa Workers’ Compensation An Insider’s Guide to Work Injuries – 7 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid if You are Hurt at Work and How to Avoid Them.