TV & Movies

The Horrible Carpal Tunnel Deadliest Catch Crew Members Endure That Isn't Shown On TV

In a 2011 interview with Entertainment Weekly, longtime “Deadliest Catch” star Keith Colburn – captain of the F/V Wizard – revealed that nearly every crew member on “Deadliest Catch” develops carpal tunnel syndrome due to their work with heavy equipment. “These guys work so hard, they all get carpal tunnel syndrome,” Colburn said. “They’re moving 40-pound objects all day long … They’re clenching all day long, tying knots. And so pretty soon during the course of the season, your fingers start to go numb. Pretty soon it goes into your hands, into your wrists — some guys all the way to the elbows.”

Colburn went on to explain that many crew members will wake up each morning to find their hands frozen into “claws,” and that they have to use hot water just to get their blood flowing again. Although this might not seem like a major issue due to the other deadly facets of the commercial fishing industry, the long-term effects of carpal tunnel syndrome can be extremely debilitating.

According to the National Institute of Health, severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to hand weakness, a wasting away of the muscles in the thumb, and damage to the median nerve that runs along the forearm. Colburn’s comments shine a light on the extreme cases of carpal tunnel that plague the crew members on “Deadliest Catch” — a condition that can leave those crew members with debilitating issues long after they’ve stopped working in the crab-fishing fleet.

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