Years Of Repetitive Work Lead To Compensable Cts Aggravation Of Degenerative Arthritis

Years of repetitive work lead to compensable CTS aggravation of degenerative arthritis.

Case name:

Zeliner v. American Nickeloid Co.,

15 ILWCLB 255 (Ill. WC. Comm 2007).


 Based on the testimony of the claimant’s Section 12 examining doctor, the Commission held that the claimant’s hand intensive, repetitive work activities were the compensable cause of her carpal tunnel syndrome and aggravated and underlying degenerative arthritis condition.


The claimant had worked for the defendant for 37 years in various departments, including advertising, data processing and billing. Her duties included general typing, folding and stuffing flyers into envelopes, and key punching. Her most recent work, as a lab technician, required key punching, filing, copying and cutting out squares of vinyl for testing. She began noticing pain and numbness and tingling in her hands and sought treatment.She was diagnosed with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and aggravation of degenerative arthritis. The arbitrator denied benefits. In reversing, the Commission relied on the opinions of the claimant’s Section 12 examining doctor.The doctor opined that the claimant’s carpal tunnel syndrome and the aggravation of the preexisting degenerative arthritis were the result of her continued use of her upper extremity for frequent repetitive work activities with the employer.The doctor further opined that the claimant’s examination revealed degenerative changes, which over 30 years or more would be consistent with the type of work she performed and that her recent repetitive work activity “superimposed upon her degenerative arthritis” would be enough to result in the carpal tunnel syndrome.The Commission found the opinions of claimant’s doctor more persuasive than those of the defendant’s examining doctor, who opined that the claimant did not demonstrate classical carpal tunnel syndrome in either hand but recommended that she avoid jobs with vigorous gripping and pinching.

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