Although there is no one cause for carpal tunnel syndrome, the chances of a person developing this condition increase with certain factors:
- Previous injuries: wrist injuries, such as fractures or dislocations, can alter the space within the carpal tunnel and add more pressure to the median nerve, which can in turn create the conditions for developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Gender: Women are three times more prone to developing carpal tunnel syndrome, presumably because their carpal tunnel area is naturally smaller than in most men. Women between the ages of 40 and 60 are at the highest risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Chronic illnesses: nerve-damaging chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, can increase a person’s risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Inflammatory illnesses: conditions that are characterized by inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can exert pressure on people’s median nerve.
- Fluid retention: retaining fluids may increase the pressure within the carpal tunnel and add more pressure on the median nerve. Pregnancy and menopause can both cause fluid retention.
- Repetitive motions: activities that require the same repetitive hand and wrist movements can increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, especially if those movements require awkward wrist placement.
- Smoking: it may increase the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome by affecting the blood flow to the median nerve.
- Growths: tumors or ganglion cysts can be a cause of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Work activities: working with vibrating tools or performing repetitive activities throughout the work day (like working on an assembly line) can create harmful pressure on the median nerve and contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Studies have shown that musicians, meat, fish and poultry packers, and movers are typically at a very high risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Hobbies: people who intensively cook, knit, sew, do needlepoint, play computer games, do carpentry, or use power tools are at an increased risk for carpal tunnel.
- Obesity: being overweight can reduce the nerve flow speed in the hand and has been linked to partially causing carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Other health problems: conditions such as thyroid disorders, kidney failure, diabetes, lupus, and multiple sclerosis can also cause swelling in the joints and soft tissue of the wrist, which can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you find yourself experiencing hand numbness, tingling, or pain, and you have one or more of the above characteristics, make an appointment with the specialists at Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas to start your journey towards pain-free hands today!