Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS, is a repetitive strain injury caused by the 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 bones and ligaments in the wrist to the fingers and base of the thumb.
This pinching results in a range of symptoms including: 1) sensations of tingling, burning, or numbness in the fingers, 2) a loss of manual dexterity and grip strength, 3) locking of the finger joints in various positions, 4) swelling and inflammation in the fingers, and 5) pain.
Although SSA does not consider CTS to be a disabling condition standing alone, this condition can make your disability claim considerably stronger. First, for this or any medical impairment to be given weight by the SSA, be sure to report your symptoms to your treating doctors. The types of things you need to report are pain, numbness, loss of feeling, weakness and similar feelings that are abnormal.
Second, you should be sure to report how these symptoms are limiting your ability to use your hand (or hands). Talk about whether you are able to use your hands for activities such as gripping, holding, or keyboarding on a computer. If you drop things or cannot lift objects such as cartons of milk, talk about that.
If you are unable to reliably use your hands because of CTS, there will be fewer jobs that SSA will find that you are able to perform. Almost all types of work require reliable use of both hands. If you can show that this is not possible your claim will be much more likely to be successful.
In the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, the medical records should show the results of a nerve conduction study. The treatment notes obtained from a claimant’s doctor should also indicate the particular limitations imposed by carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as a specific prognosis.
Carpal tunnel sufferers who apply for disability benefits should not give up if their case is denied. They should continue to pursue their claims through Social Security’s appeals process. Most applications for disability benefits are denied, regardless of the condition or application. We recommend you appeal the denial, and ultimately get a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge.
Do not believe anyone who tells you that the process is simple. To schedule an initial consultation and case evaluation with a trusted SSDI and SSI lawyer serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the surrounding region, please contact the Disability and Injury Law Offices of David R. Machek online or call 215-385-5353 or 215-323-5320 to arrange a free initial consultation with our lawyer about SSD/SSI eligibility.