Top Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Top Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common condition that affects many people in the United States. Ergonomic disorders are some of the fastest-growing work-related illnesses.


It is no surprise considering how much people work on their computers every day. The carpal tunnel is the passageway in the wrist through which various tendons and nerves pass through. When overused, this area can become inflamed causing the nerves to become compressed. Once the nerves are compressed, it can lead to numbness and pain in the first four fingers thus making day to day activities much more difficult. Below we list the top causes of carpal tunnel syndrome.


Overuse of the Wrist


Overuse of the wrist is one of the top reasons people develop carpal tunnel syndrome. This is especially true in jobs that require a significant amount of typing on a computer.


The positioning of your wrist while you are working, long term exposure to vibrating tools such as power drills, or repetitive motion such as typing or playing the piano can all lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. These movements can all lead to the wrist being constantly overextended, which can cause the carpal tunnel to swell. Once the swelling occurs, nerve compression can happen which leads to the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.


Trauma to the Wrist


Trauma to the wrist is another major cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. Trauma to the wrist can occur due to a car accident, a fall, or any other injury that causes the wrist to swell. Once this swelling occurs, the nerves in the wrist are compressed which leads to the painful and tingling feeling felt in the fingers.




Diabetes is a surprising cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. While diabetes does not involve trauma to or overuse of the wrist, left untreated, diabetes can damage nerves. If your blood sugar levels are left too high for too long, over time, the nerves in your extremities can be damaged. Your body’s natural reaction to damage is to swell in order for all the parts of the body to heal. As a result, the median nerve in the wrist may swell, leading to carpal tunnel syndrome as it becomes compressed.


Fluid Retention


Another common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is fluid retention. There are a variety of causes of body fluid retention such as pregnancy, various medications, heart problems, and blood circulation to name a few. Regardless of the cause of body fluid retention, the end result is typically swelling. As with the reasons listed above, swelling in the carpal tunnel can lead the median nerve to become compressed, thus causing tingling and pain in the hand and wrist.



The best way to treat carpal tunnel syndrome is to make lifestyle changes to eliminate the suspected underlying cause. If these changes do not help the pain and tingling go away, there are other pain management techniques. These techniques include carpal tunnel injections and physical therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome. The injections can be used to help reduce swelling and physical therapy helps to gain back strength and range of motion in the wrist.