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Carpal Tunnel Causes and Risk Factors

Carpal Tunnel Causes and Risk Factors
What is carpal tunnel?
Causes and Risk Factors

Carpal tunnel syndrome causes
Any condition that exerts pressure on the median nerve at the wrist can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. The main cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is incorrect posture, especially found among computer users and people working on ergonomic keyboards. But some people may simply be born with smaller carpal tunnels than other people do.

Carpal tunnel can also be caused by repetitive movements during assembly line work, wrist injury, or swelling due to certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive maneuvers has been referred to as a "repetitive stress injury". Repetitive maneuvers that can cause carpal tunnel include:

  • awkward joint posture
  • direct pressure to the ligaments and bones
  • high force
  • prolonged constrained posture
  • repetition
  • vibration

Risk factors
Although it's not clear which exact activities can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, if your work or hobbies are hand-intensive - involving a combination of awkward, repetitive wrist or finger motions, forceful pinching or gripping, and working with vibrating tools - you may be at higher risk of developing the condition. Other risk factors include:

  • Certain health conditions - Thyroid problems, diabetes, obesity, end-stage kidney disease and rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel. Some rare diseases can cause deposition of abnormal substances in and around the carpal tunnel, leading to nerve irritation. These diseases include amyloidosis, sarcoidosis, multiple myeloma and leukemia.
  • Heredity - You may be significantly more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome if close relatives have been diagnosed with the condition. Inherited physical characteristics, such as the shape of your wrist, may make you more susceptible to developing nerve entrapment.
  • Pregnancy - Fluid retention may be a cause of carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy. Fortunately, carpal tunnel syndrome related to pregnancy almost always improves after childbirth.
  • Your sex - Women are three times as likely as men are to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Women who are pregnant, taking oral contraceptives or going through menopause also are at increased risk, most likely due to hormonal changes.

Untreated, carpal tunnel can become chronic, but when detected early, carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated and recovery is possible in a few months. Severe carpal tunnel syndrome can also be treated, but recovery may take up to a year or longer and may not be complete. Continue reading here to learn how to identify the signs and symptoms of local wrist joint problems. The next section on the signs symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome describes symptoms of carpal tunnel at length.

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Tags: Rheumatoid arthritis, after childbirth, multiple myeloma, thyroid problems, kidney disease, amyloidosis, Childbirth, Menopause, Arthritis, Pregnancy, vibration, swelling, Diabetes, Diseases, pregnant, Leukemia, symptoms, Recovery, Obesity, thyroid
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