A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop carpal tunnel syndrome with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors include:
The vast majority of carpal tunnel syndrome cases are work related. People whose occupations involve repetitive work with the hands, such as keyboard operators, factory workers, typists, barbers, musicians, and vehicle drivers, are at increased risk. In addition, people who use vibrating tools for long periods everyday, such as jackhammers, chain saws, chippers, grinders, drills, and sanders, may be at increased risk.
Wrist injuries, such as burns, broken bones, compression, or crush injuries, may increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Having the following medical conditions may increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Raynaud's disease, which impairs blood flow in the hands
Water retention from:
- Birth control pills
- Cortisone pills or shots
- Some high blood pressure drugs
- Tumors and cysts in the carpal tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome is most often diagnosed between the ages of 40-60.
Women are diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome three times more often than men are.
Inheriting a narrowed carpal tunnel increases your chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated October 8, 2012. Accessed October 23 ,2012.
Carpal tunnel syndrome: a practical review.
Am Fam Physician. 1994;49:1371-1379, 1385-1386.
Last reviewed September 2013 by Teresa Briedwell, DPT, OCS
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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