Explaining carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or CTS is a repetitive strain injury caused by compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel area of the wrist. It occurs when connective tissue in either wrist becomes enlarged or inflamed. The result of this tissue enlargement is a pinching of the median nerve that runs from the tunnel of the bone and ligaments in the wrist to the fingers and base of the thumb. This pinching results in a range of symptoms somewhat similar to the peripheral neuropathies experienced by the individuals who have chronic diabetes, sensations of tingling, burning or even numbness in the fingers, a loss of manual dexterity and grip strength, an occasional locking of the finger joints in various positions, swelling and inflammation in the fingers and pain.
How does Social Security Administration View CTS?
People who have severe carpal tunnel syndrome and whose past work was based on the ability to perform repetitive or dexterous hand movements or on the ability to use a certain level of grip strength in the course of their job duties will often be judged incapable of returning to this type of past work. Carpal tunnel claimants who have severe functional restrictions may be able to obtain a medical vocational allowance particularly if they have other impairments that also limit their functional capacity too.
When the Person Considered Disabled?
To be considered disabled a person must have impairment, medical, psychological or psychiatric in nature. The disabled person’s impairment must also meet the definition of disability which essentially states that the impairment must be severe enough that it keeps the person from working and earning above a certain amount for at least twelve months before the disease. It also means that while back conditions usually fall into the severe category, wrist and ankle sprains seldom qualify as severe disabling conditions. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome develops gradually and not the result of a sudden mishap, so it is considered a work-related injury. It is clarified in court that what an employee must show to demonstrate that she is disabled and emphasized that court must decide whether someone is disabled or not to get the benefit from the present employer.