Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, CTS, is one of the most common work related injuries that result in financial losses for both employers and employees. Affecting hundreds of thousands of workers, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome costs more than $20 billion a year in workers’ compensation and is also the leading reason for employees to take time off from their jobs.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome causes inflammation, swelling and pressure on the carpal tunnel, a small area where nerves and tendons pass through the wrist into the hand. As a result, sufferers experience pain, numbness, tingling and more, in the wrist and fingers of the affected hand.
What are the risks and how you can help prevent your team from suffering from this condition? Keep reading to find out.
The Risks of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There are many risk factors for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, including:
- Repetitive motions: This is the most commonly known risk, especially when it comes to the workplace and poor ergonomics.
- Health conditions such as:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Kidney Failure
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the body retains more water as well as produces hormones that relax tendons, which can cause more pressure on the Carpal Tunnel.
- Being female: Unfortunately, women are more at risk for CTS because of their smaller wrists and narrower Carpal Tunnel.
Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There are a few things you can do to help prevent your team from developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Stretching and wrist exercises. To help prevent work related CTS, make sure your team knows how to stretch and exercise their wrists and hands. Slowly opening their hands wide and then closing them, gently pulling fingers and hand backward, and rolling the wrists are all effective stretches.
- Promote breaks from repetitive activities. Urge employees who perform repetitive motions (such as typing or assembly) to take frequent breaks from those activities. This is also a good time for them to stretch their wrists and hands.
- Encourage healthy lifestyles. For employees who may suffer from health conditions that put them at risk for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, taking breaks and stretching may not be enough. Encourage and practice a healthy lifestyle with a wellness plan for your company.
- Proper ergonomics. Invest in ergonomically friendly tools and supplies for your employees. From keyboard trays to assembly tools, using ergonomic tools reduces the strain on the wrist and hands that can lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
With properly educating your team on the risks leading to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and how to prevent it, you will have employees that are more productive and suffer from fewer wrist and hand injuries. Need help finding ergonomic accessories that reduce the risk of CTS? Contact me today!