The ulnar nerve is an extension of the brachial plexus’ medial cord, and gives sensation to the palms and the muscles of the forearm.
If a person bends his elbow and puts pressure on this nerve repeatedly, it can reduce the blood flow to this nerve. This condition is called ulnar nerve neuropathy or cubital tunnel syndrome. Ulnar neuropathy is a common work related injury. In this post, our St. Louis workers comp lawyer will discuss this injury in detail.
Symptoms of Ulnar Neuropathy
Numbness, weak grip, tingling and discomfort in the little finger and the ring finger are the symptoms of this ailment. Ulnar neuropathy may lead to paralysis of the muscles which receive blood through the ulnar nerve.
Common Causes of Ulnar Neuropathy
The compression can occur when a worker receives a direct blow, twists his elbow, or has a dislocation or fracture. The ulnar nerve may be compressed if a worker is involved in doing something which requires repetitive flexing of the elbow joint on a regular basis. For instance, if a person uses the computer or drives with one hand on the steering wheel for a long period of time, it may lead to ulnar neuropathy.
Treatment of Ulnar Neuropathy
Generally, conservative therapies and exercises are recommended for the treatment of ulnar neuropathy. However, sometimes it may be necessary to undergo a decompression surgery. Besides this, the worker may have to change the nature of his work.
Compensation For Ulnar Neuropathy Injuries
In most cases, a patient recovers completely after surgery. But there are instances when the disease is not cured and the worker continues to experience symptoms. If a worker experiences ulnar neuropathy because of his job, they can claim workers compensation benefits from their employer.
They are generally entitled to get workers’ compensation to cover the medical bills. Medical benefits include adequate medical care for ulnar neuropathy, like the cost of surgery if it is deemed to be necessary. Besides this, they can likely claim loss of function benefits. Moreover, they may get temporary disability benefits until they recover.
Some workers go and work at a lower pay rate or for fewer hours while they are recovering. They are usually eligible for temporary partial disability. If the worker is injured while performing his duties at work and becomes permanently impaired he can get permanent partial disability depending on the doctor’s evaluation.
If a worker is not sure about the cause of his ailment he should seek the advice of a doctor. He should explain the nature of his work and find out if his occupation is the main cause for it. Even if the worker had a pre-existing injury, he can claim benefits if work is the major cause of his ulnar neuropathy.
Prevention is better than a cure. Workers who experience the signs of ulnar neuropathy should try to make changes in their work and daily life so that the condition does not get aggravated. They can take up suitable exercises to ensure that blood flows properly in the nerve and there is no compression.