Upper Extremity Conditions: Work-Related or Not?Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), tennis elbow, and cubital tunnel syndrome...these are just three of the most common arm problems workers seek medical care for. But whether or not the problem is work-related can't be decided by the patient or doctor based on symptoms. It's a legal decision with different laws in each state.
Studies show there is a wide range of risk factors for these common conditions. The group affected most often by CTS is middle-aged women who don't work outside the home. So the debate continues: are these problems really caused by work conditions? Or is there a pre-existing condition and work is the last straw?
One of the largest studies done of 1,757 workers concluded repetitive work was not a risk factor. Other studies disagree. In the end doctors must examine the patient and make a medical decision based on what the law says. Is work the cause of the problem according to the legal definition? If it's not then the case can't be covered by worker's compensation.
Tina DiMarcantonio. Make the Right Call: When is an Upper Extremity Condition Work-Related? In Orthopedics Today. February 2006. Vol. 26. No. 2. Pp. 22-23.
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