Carpal Tunnel Risk Factors?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that can make using the hands and wrists very difficult. Most of the factors that make carpal tunnel syndrome likely to appear affect the wrist, tendons, and nerves in the body. Several activities and conditions are considered risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Previous Injuries

Previous injuries to the hand, wrist, or arm can increase your chances of carpal tunnel syndrome. This is mainly because a previous injury, such as a fracture or broken bone, could heal in a way that narrows the carpal tunnel. This narrowing can increase the odds the nerve inside will eventually be pinched.

Chronic Medical Conditions

A number of chronic medical conditions are considered risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome. The list is long and includes everything from diabetes and kidney disease to arthritis and thyroid problems. Some diseases increase your risk because they cause damage to the median nerve that runs through your carpal tunnel. Others can affect bones and tendons in this region of the body.

Excess Body Fluids

Anything that results in excess fluid retention will make carpal tunnel syndrome more likely. This is because the excess fluid actually increases the amount of pressure in your arms and wrists so that the nerve is more compressed. Excess fluids could accumulate due to menopause, pregnancy, or conditions like lymphedema.


Gender can affect the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Women are nearly three times more likely to develop the syndrome then men. Additionally, women become more susceptible to the condition as age increases. Although research is still being done, one of the reasons for this could be due to hormonal changes in women.

Repetitive Motion

Something that can significantly increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome is repetitive motion. This means performing the same motions with the hands, wrists, and arms for hours a day and several times a week. The constant and repetitive use of the wrist can cause pressure that triggers the syndrome. You are most likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome due to repetitive motions involving moving heavy items or strenuous work that puts pressure on the wrist.


Anatomy can become a risk factor for certain people. The way the wrist, bones, and tendons have developed naturally can create a situation in which carpal tunnel syndrome is possible. Square wrists and wide palms are two anatomical features that are commonly associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Using Vibrating Tools

Vibrating tools like drills, jackhammers, and jigsaws can all make developing carpal tunnel syndrome more likely when they are used on a daily basis. The vibrations put enough pressure on the wrist to potentially cause damage to the nerve and tendons. Using vibrating tools in cold conditions is thought to increase the risk even more.

Tobacco and Alcohol Use

Tobacco and alcohol could increase your chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Tobacco use causes problems with the carpal tunnel because it affects circulation so that nerves and tendons do not get enough oxygen. Alcohol is a risk factor because it could cause damage to the nerve and larger nervous system when used in excess over a period of many years.

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