Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist*

Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist*

3 ways carpal tunnel syndrome can affect work performance

Professionals in a variety of different fields are potentially at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. Factory workers, professional drivers and office workers are among those most frequently diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.

People tend to dismiss carpal tunnel syndrome as a manageable medical condition, but the reality is that it can be quite debilitating and may persist for the rest of someone’s life. The longer someone ignores their symptoms, the more likely carpal tunnel syndrome is to negatively impact their job performance.

Many employees who might qualify for workers’ compensation benefits are hesitant to report their concerns to their employers and seek medical care. However, doing so could protect them from job loss because of declining work performance. How can carpal tunnel syndrome affect someone’s job performance and put them at risk of losing their employment?

By causing chronic pain

The discomfort that comes from carpal tunnel syndrome can persist throughout much of the work day. What may start as symptoms at the end of a long shift may eventually start flaring up earlier and earlier into the work day. Employees who try to push through their pain and discomfort may have shifts in their behavior. It is normal for someone’s mood to worsen when they have to endure chronic pain. Those are carpal tunnel syndrome may find that their pain affects their relationships with coworkers, supervisors and subordinates.

By affecting strength, speed and dexterity

Carpal tunnel syndrome is not just painful. It also generates functional limitations. People cannot grip as strongly as they used to or repeat repetitive job tasks as quickly as their employer may require. They may also experience a reduction in their range of motion that can diminish their job performance. The reduced functional ability that accompanies carpal tunnel syndrome may render someone incapable of performing certain job functions or may drastically decrease the speed with which they perform job tasks.

By requiring medical care

There are many options for treating carpal tunnel syndrome, ranging from physical therapy to surgery. Many treatment options may require that someone take time away from work. Repeated absences, especially lengthy absences related to surgery, can affect a company’s perception of an employee’s job performance and put them at risk of write-ups or even termination.

Those who seek accommodations as part of a workers’ compensation claim can reduce the likelihood of an employer terminating them because of their need for accommodations or changes in their job performance. Speaking up about carpal tunnel syndrome can help employees improve their health and reduce their risk of career disruptions caused by their medical challenges.