Risk Factors for Developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Risk Factors for Developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

July 23, 2015

Several risk factors, including gender, make it more likely that a person will develop carpal tunnel syndrome. If any of these factors apply to you, be aware that you must take extra precautions to avoid median nerve damage and respond rapidly if symptoms arise.

womanGender – women especially at risk

If you are a woman, unfortunately, you have a 200% higher risk of developing this wrist pain condition than a man does. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) explains that a higher rate of affliction among females is possibly “because the carpal tunnel itself may be smaller in women than in men.” The NIH additionally says that, among women, “[the] dominant hand is usually affected first and produces the most severe pain.”

Anatomy & broken bones

The Mayo Clinic notes that several elements of anatomy are often involved. One anatomic factor is when your wrist is broken or becomes dislocated. If the natural alignment of your bones is forcefully changed in either of those manners, you may experience hand pain simply because the median nerve has less room in which to operate.

Plus, as is often the case with women, if your carpal tunnel is narrower, you are at greater risk of the condition than those with wider tunnels.

computerYour job

When you think of carpal tunnel syndrome, you may immediately think of someone hunched over a computer. Actually, that’s not an accurate picture of those at greatest risk. The condition is most often seen in those who work in factories putting together products – whether the actual products themselves (sewing or manufacturing) or the containers (meatpacking).

Did you think that this wrist pain condition was simply part of the information age? Amazingly, just like the difference between women and men, it is 200% likelier that an assembly-line worker will suffer from this problem than will a data-entry clerk.

Medical conditions

carpal-tunnelVarious medical conditions can make it likelier that you will develop this form of hand pain as well. Some diseases, including diabetes, are known to damage the nerves, while rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory illnesses can amplify nerve pressure via tendon inflammation.

Women are also particularly susceptible because of hormonal changes that influence their fluids. “Fluid retention, common during pregnancy or menopause, may increase the pressure within your carpal tunnel, irritating the median nerve,” says the Mayo Clinic.

What you can do

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