VA Disability for Loss of Grip Strength

Loss of grip strength is a part of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). It involves various issues involving the usage of one’s hands and wrists. If you develop it from anything service-related, you can get VA benefits.

One can lose grip strength because of any external injury during the service days. Here, the damage compressed their median nerve. As a result, they cannot feel enough strength in their wrist and fingers or have tingling sensations.

Depending on the severity and frequency of your condition, VA may give you one of many disabilities rating for CTS. Let’s cover this topic in detail below.


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Understanding CTS, Its Symptoms, and Causes

Amidst the ligaments and bones in our hands runs the carpal tunnel, which is responsible for protecting the median nerve within it. This nerve extends to our thumbs, index fingers, middle fingers, and part of the ring fingers. The various tasks of the median nerves are to allow you to do the followings-

  • Twist your hand and forearm downward.
  • Close your wrists, thumbs, and other three fingers, or open them.
  • Feel temperature, touch, and pain on your wrist and the fingertips of your thumbs and other three fingers. A fun fact is that human fingertips are one of the most sensitive skin parts in the animal kingdom.

You can probably already understand what damage to the median nerve may cause. Among various issues, losing your grip strength is one. The injury usually falls on your carpal tunnel, compressing and damaging the nerve inside. So it is called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Of course, there are other means of wrist conditions, including scaphoid fractures or ganglion cysts. But they don’t usually contribute to what we know as the loss of grip strength. However, they can be the reason one develops CTS.

In this scenario, those wrist injuries may cause rheumatoid arthritis, where the immune system attacks its own tissues in the wrist. It may result in CTS. But the most common cause for it is damage from falling and landing on your hands in the wrong way. The following are the symptoms of CTS-

  • Weaknesses in your wrist areas and difficulty holding anything or lifting heavy objects.
  • Tingling and shocking sensations from wrist to fingertips. It can also reach your arm.
  • Pain, itching, and burning in the relevant areas. It also causes numbness.

Carpal Tunnel Conditions Secondary to Other Diseases

Your CTS can come from or get worse because of the following service-related conditions-

  • Arthritis
  • Thyroid illnesses
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Menopause
  • Scaphoid fractures
  • Any service-related work that requires a veteran to stretch their wrists or move them too much and fast.

Preparing to File a Claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

When gathering the necessary papers and evidence to file your claim to get VA disability benefits for CTS, you must make wise moves. Remember that VA grants rating on this condition based on two factors-

  • How much can motion can you do with your wrist areas?
  • Severity and frequency of any pain you feel.

So, including evidence with your claim mentioning these factors is necessary to get the proper ratings. In that case, getting a medical report on your condition is mandatory. We can prepare an eligibility review for you at VA Disability Coach, which will come in handy.

Eligibility Factors for CTS

The following factors make you eligible for VA disability benefits for CTS. You need to match all of them.

  • Your CTS symptoms must be chronic and persistent to the point that it affects different aspects of your life.
  • The CTS must be service-connected. You may need a Nexus letter to prove it. Alternatively, if the CTS is secondary service-connected, you may not need to provide medical evidence for the illness that caused it.
  • You must own a medical report explaining your CTS condition, whether from a private doctor or the VA. You can contact us for this step.

VA Ratings for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The VA disability ratings for CTS depend on various factors, including the severity and frequency of the symptoms and which arm is affected. You can get separate ratings for each arm if both are involved. The dominant arm gives a higher rating.

Complete Paralysis: When you face symptoms of total paralysis, you get a 70% rating for the dominant arm and 60% for the other arm. The symptoms include but are not limited to-

  • If the wrist area is stuck and bent away from the body.
  • When the hand is totally flat, the thumb stays straight and stuck in that position by the index finger.
  • The index and middle fingers stay up more than usual and remain like that.
  • Atrophying of the muscle at the bottom of the thumb.

Severe Incomplete Paralysis: Gives a 40% rating for the non-dominant arm and 50% for the dominant arm.

Moderate Incomplete Paralysis: With this condition, a veteran can get a 30% rating for the dominant arm and 20% for the non-dominant arm.

Mild Incomplete Paralysis: It is the lowest of CTS conditions, giving a 10% disability rating for any of the arms.

You can find full details of these ratings in the CFR Title 38, Part 4, Schedule for Rating Disabilities, Diagnostic Code 8515, The Median Nerve, Complete or Incomplete Paralysis.

The worsening of CTS is common. When that happens, you should file a claim to VA for increased benefits. Adding necessary medical reports to prove your point is the key.

Can Numbness and Tingling Lead to Loss of Grip Strength in a C&P Exam?

Numbness and tingling can potentially impair grip strength during a C&P exam. If experiencing these symptoms, it is crucial to seek professional advice and explore treatment options for numbness and tingling. Understanding the underlying cause and addressing it promptly can help prevent any further impact on grip strength.

Final Note

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can negatively affect someone’s life, work, and other aspects. It has a wide range of disability ratings based on the severity of the case. If you experience the symptoms, consider collecting the appropriate pieces of evidence and submitting them with your claim to the VA.