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Can Carpal Tunnel be Caused by a Car Accident?

Can carpal tunnel be caused by a car accident?

You’ve been involved in a car accident and are suffering from pain in your wrists, hands, and forearms.

Your doctor says you have carpal tunnel syndrome, but what does that mean? And is the car accident the cause? If it is, how can you prove it?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that causes pain, weakness, numbness, and other abnormalities in the wrist and fingers. This happens when the median nerve that runs from your hand to the carpal tunnel of your wrist is put under pressure or becomes compressed.

It can be brought on by either repetitive stress or trauma and forces the carpal tunnel to become smaller and swell up at the same time.

Traumatic carpal tunnel is believed to be caused by stress and damage to the tendons and ligaments of the wrist and can affect one or both wrists. This usually occurs from a sudden event, such as a car accident, and it is especially common in rear-end collisions when you’re more likely to have your hands on the steering wheel at the time of impact.

The question remains: Can carpal tunnel be caused by a car accident?

The quick answer is yes. However, it might not be easy to prove, and cases with this type of injury from a car accident may end up being more complex than you think.

Common Causes of Carpal Tunnel

Most people incorrectly assume that CTS is only caused by repetitive stress, but that’s not always the case. According to the Mayo Clinic, carpal tunnel syndrome can also be caused by any of the following:

  • Anatomical factors
  • Nerve damage
  • Inflammation
  • Sex assigned at birth or hormones
  • Medications
  • Obesity
  • Changes in body fluid
  • Your job
  • Other medical conditions

Although they may not directly cause carpal tunnel syndrome, certain risk factors have been linked to CTS, such as various health issues, age, smoking history, etc. Additionally, any fractures or injuries to the bones, nerves, or tendons in the wrists and forearms can cause CTS, including car accidents.

When you suffer a break, fracture, or sudden compression of your wrists, your nerves and ligaments might be torn or damaged. As these injuries heal, scar tissue forms, and if you never sought medical treatment, the scar tissue might impede the nerves and muscles in your wrists, leading to CTS.

Symptoms of CTS as the result of a car accident often don’t arise until long after the accident occurred, which is what makes cases like this so difficult.

Symptoms and Long-term Effects of CTS

Now that we’ve explained what CTS is and some of the usual causes, you may be wondering if you are experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel or if your injury might be something else. Here are the most common symptoms that most people with CTS experience:

  • Numbness in your hand
  • Pain in your hand, forearm, or wrist
  • Tingling pins and needles
  • Numbness or pain when you move your wrist
  • Stiffness in your fingers
  • Aching in your forearm
  • Weakness in your hands, causing you to drop or be unable to grasp things

Depending on the severity of your injury, you may have one or all of these symptoms, and the severity of the symptoms themselves may fluctuate. The longer you go untreated, the worse the symptoms become, and the long-term effects of CTS can be debilitating.

Carpal tunnel syndrome doesn’t just go away on its own. The condition worsens over time, and most people who suffer from CTS find that they have worse pain or symptoms at night than during the day.

Because of the numbness or weakened grip you might experience, you may not be able to perform basic daily tasks or the duties required by your job.

In some cases, symptoms of CTS are so severe that those affected cannot even brush their teeth.

Proving That Your Wreck Caused Your Injury

Due to a small percentage of CTS cases being linked to vehicle collisions, proving that a car accident caused your injury can be challenging. It’s important to collect as much evidence as possible to have the strongest case against the at-fault party responsible for your injuries.

Gather Medical Evidence

Provide reports of x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, and any other scans or tests that were performed to determine the extent of your injury.

Secure Expert Testimony

Doctors or physicians who treated you or who are experts in wrist and nerve injuries can testify on your behalf to prove that your injury could have been a result of your accident.

Keep an Injury Diary

Maintain a journal documenting your pain, symptoms, treatments, and doctor’s visits relating to your injury. Make detailed notes on how much your injury affects your daily life and tasks, when the pain worsens, and how bad it gets.

Collect Accident Reports

Police reports, eyewitness reports, and photographs or video of the scene and the vehicles involved will show the severity of the impact that injured you.

As you can see, car accident cases involving carpal tunnel injuries can be complicated, and there are many moving parts. However, with the right lawyer from GDH Law on your side, you can feel confident in reaching a beneficial solution.

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