Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are critical to the smooth running of any hospital, nursing home or another medical care center. They provide basic patient care including moving and turning patients, bathing, toileting, feeding, treating wounds and checking vitals.
CNAs use their bodies extensively to assist and care for patients. The nature of their job responsibilities also places them at a higher risk for work-related injuries. One common injury is carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition resulting from compression and damage of the median nerve where it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. CTS can cause immense pain due to the swelling around the affected area, and it can cause a reduction in hand strength and range of motion among other symptoms.
Work-related causes of CTS
There are three primary work-related causes of carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Forceful tasks: responsibilities that require a significant force of the hand and arm muscles
- Repetitive tasks: responsibilities that require the employee to use the same muscle groups or movements over an extended period of time
- Wrist deviation tasks: responsibilities that require the wrist to be in an extreme position including wrist flexion, extension and radial or ulnar deviation
There are many treatments available for carpal tunnel syndrome, but they are most effective if the condition is diagnosed early and taken seriously. You may need changes in your work assignments, time off from work to heal, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, splints and possibly even surgery.
If your carpal tunnel syndrome is a result of your job responsibilities, you may be able to file a workersʻ compensation claim to recover some or all of the costs of your treatment care plan.