We rely on our hands to do everything from eating meals to typing on a keyboard. Living without them is almost unimaginable. But for some workers, it’s a very real threat.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is a passageway in your wrist which protects the nerves and tendons that run from your forearm to your hands and fingers. Repeated pressure can cause the nerves in the carpal tunnel to pinch and compress. The result? Carpal tunnel syndrome.

There are several symptoms that point to carpal tunnel syndrome.

1. Numbness, burning or tingling sensations

Your symptoms will probably start slowly. You might feel numbness or tingling in your thumb and fingers, but not your pinky. Burning sensations might travel up your forearm when you perform your work tasks. Sometimes, tingling and burning sensations can even reach your shoulder.

2. Growing discomfort

Many people sleep with their wrists bent, which can make your carpal tunnel worse because you’re pinching the nerves without realizing it. This can cause wrist pain at night and can lead to discomfort during the day. It can begin to cause pain in non-related work tasks as well, like driving or reading the newspaper. You might also feel the need to shake out your hands to relieve the discomfort or numbness.

3. Weakened muscles

As carpal tunnel worsens, your hand and finger muscles will begin to weaken. You may find yourself constantly dropping even the lightest objects such as pens or coffee cups. You might also have trouble making a fist or buttoning a shirt.

If you developed carpal tunnel from your job, you have grounds to pursue workers’ compensation for any lost wages and treatment costs. In Wisconsin, there is no time limit for filing a workers’ compensation claim for your carpal tunnel. Should you file a claim, an attorney may be able to help you understand the details of your situation and get you the help you need.