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What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Between 4 and 10 million Americans are affected by carpal tunnel syndrome, and it may be the most common disorder related to nerve function. Fortunately, it is considered to be very treatable. Many conditions are mislabeled as carpal tunnel syndrome, but certain symptoms and physiological factors set it apart from other disorders, and it is important for residents of Minnesota to understand the difference.

The carpal tunnel is located on the wrist, just underneath the surface of skin on the palm side of the hand. The tunnel is composed of soft tissues and eight wrist bones, and an important nerve and nine tendons are located inside of it. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the nerve inside the tunnel is somehow compressed. Compression of the nerve results in a variety of symptoms, including numbness of the fingers, loss of hand function and hand weakness. Most individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome experience symptoms in only one hand, but it is possible for symptoms to be felt in both.

Some individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome experience only mild symptoms and choose to not seek out medical assistance. It is possible, however, for symptoms to worsen over time, and if an individual seeks out treatment, there are many forms available, including acetaminophen, wrist splints and anti-inflammatory drugs.

If a resident of Minnesota is diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and suspects his or her employer is at least partially responsible, workers' compensation may be awarded. Filing a claim does not require legal representation, but in situations where much is at stake, having assistance may be helpful in order to ensure that claims are filed properly and ion a timely manner.

Source: American College of Rheumatology, "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome", November 13, 2014

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