February 24, 2020

Case Study: Workers Compensation and Repetitive Motion Injuries

Welcome to the 3rd installment of my summer long series on Georgia Workers’ comp case studies. In the following case study, I discuss workers’ compensation and repetitive motion injuries.

An overview of DeQuervain’s Syndrome and Lateral CTS

DeQuervain Syndrome is also nicknamed Mother’s Wrist or Washerwoman’s Sprain. In more medical, technical terms it is known as de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, de Quervain’s stenosing tenosynovitis, or Radial styloid tenosynovitis. DeQuervain’s syndrome is an inflammation (or tendinosis) that occurs in the sheath or the tunnel which surround the two tendons which are responsible for the thumb’s movement.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or CTS is also referred to as median neuropathy at the wrist and is a condition that results from a compressing or pinching of median nerve in the wrist area. It typically leads to extreme pain, muscle weakness, and numbness of the hand. Night symptoms and waking up off and on are characteristics of CTS as well. The definitive or standard treatment of the condition is a surgical procedure known as carpal tunnel release.

It should be noted that although this surgical procedure effectively relieves the symptoms of CTS, established nerve dysfunction in the form of atrophy, constant or “static” numbness, and weakness are all permanent. Ironically, most CTS cases do not have a specific cause, and some individuals are predisposed at developing the condition based on genetics.

Workers’ Compensation case involving repetitive motion injury: The case of “Ms. C”

Our client, Ms. C, was diagnosed with bilateral CTS as a result of her repetitious work in cake decorating. According to Dr. D, she was diagnosed with “bilateral DeQuervains tenosynovitis and ulnar nerve injury.” As a result of Ms. C’s injuries, she underwent surgeries on both wrists. About 6 weeks later, she went through surgical procedures on the left wrist – carpal tunnel and DeQuervains release surgery.

Ms. C continues living in pain today, even after the different surgeries were performed. Pain is prevalent especially in the hand, at the incision, and in the wrist area. She is currently undergoing physical therapy and has limited range of movement (ROM) as well as the pain mentioned in the above areas. It is evident that she will continue to remain under medical care as well as receiving TTD for quite some time.

Given the residual problems that exist and her surgeries, the PPD (Permanent Partial Disability) rating of each wrist is 10%. Additionally, due to the repetitive nature of Ms. C’s work, it is very obvious that her capacity to perform her job has been severely limited and she will experience continued levels of pain. As a result of her case, we have demanded “X” amount in her Workers’ Compensation case and are awaiting settlement