What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition caused by pressure on the median nerve. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway surrounded by bones and ligaments on the palm side of one’s hand. When something compresses the median nerve in this area, symptoms can include numbness, weakness, tingling, and pain in the hand and arm. The causes of carpal tunnel syndrome depend on the anatomy of the affected individual, but oftentimes the condition results from other health problems, such as a wrist fracture, or repetitive hand motions, such as the consistent use of a computer mouse without proper wrist support.
Anything that squeezes or irritates the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Many researchers believe that individuals with smaller carpal tunnels may be more susceptible to the condition, especially women. Oftentimes, there is no single cause for the condition, and it results from the combination of multiple risk factors.
Veterans And Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In the military, service members are often expected to do repetitive tasks, regardless of their military occupational specialty (MOS). These tasks could include repairing vehicle motors, using a computer mouse while reviewing drone footage, or other similar activities that require constant use of the wrist. As a result of these activities, service members can develop carpal tunnel syndrome during their service or within one year of discharge. When this occurs, veterans are able to apply for VA disability compensation for their condition because it was caused by their military service.
How The VA Rates Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Under 38 CFR § 4.124a, the VA evaluates carpal tunnel syndrome based on the severity of the condition. Combined nerve injuries are rated by reference to the major involvement, or if sufficient in extent, consider radicular group ratings (diagnostic codes 8510, 8511, 8512, and 8513).
Diagnostic Code 8515: Paralysis of the median nerve
|Complete; the hand inclined to the ulnar side, the index and middle fingers more extended than normally, considerable atrophy of the muscles of the thenar eminence, the thumb in the plane of the hand (ape hand); pronation incomplete and defective, absence of flexion of index finger and feeble flexion of middle finger, cannot make a fist, index and middle fingers remain extended; cannot flex distal phalanx of thumb, defective opposition and abduction of the thumb, at right angles to palm; flexion of wrist weakened; pain with trophic disturbances||70||60|
Getting Help With Your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome VA Claim
If you or someone you know is a veteran with carpal tunnel syndrome who is interested in applying for VA disability benefits for his or her condition, or who needs help appealing an unfavorable VA rating decision, our experienced veterans disability lawyers are ready to help. Please contact our office today for a free claim evaluation. We can help you get the compensation you deserve.