It is estimated that 3 percent of women and 2 percent of men will diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome throughout their lifetimes.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome? Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that affects the hands and wrists. It is caused by compression of the median nerve, which runs through the wrist and into the hand. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include numbness and tingling in the hands, pain in the wrists and hands, and weakness in the wrists and hands.

Here are four things you may be surprised to know about carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Only certain fingers are affected: Compression of the median nerve caused by carpal tunnel syndrome affects the thumb, pointer finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. The little finger and half of the ring finger closest to the little finger are not affected by the median nerve, but the ulnar nerve. Pain, numbness, and tingling in these fingers may indicate tunnel syndrome.
  • Women are more often affected: Women are three times more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than men. This may be due to the fact that women have smaller wrists (and carpal tunnels) than men, and compression can more easily occur.
  • Surgical and non-surgical treatments are available: Surgery isn’t always the only option for individuals suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. For some, splinting, ergonomic adjustments to workstations, anti-inflammatory medications, chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, and alternative therapies may provide relief. A prolonged period of rest may also be effective in managing carpal tunnel syndrome. Surgical options generally include open-release surgery and endoscopic surgery. Talk to your doctor to determine which treatment options may be most effective for you.
  • Workers’ compensation may cover treatment costs and more: When carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by work conditions – often due to repetitive motions such as typing, sewing, assembly line work, etc. – the employee can seek workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp may cover lost wages, future earnings, medical costs, and more.

Individuals suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome should consider talking to a workers’ compensation attorney about their legal options.