Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve. In many cases there is no single cause – but rather a combination of risk factors that have contributed to the development of the condition.

Anything that squeezes or irritates the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Contributing factors range from injury to heredity to working conditions

In this article, Clarkston, MI article hand surgeon Dr. Rehman discusses some of the risk factors for developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Risk factors for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

A number of risk factors have been associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Although they may not directly cause your carpal tunnel syndrome, they may increase your chances of developing median nerve damage.

Injury or Illness

A wrist sprain, fracture or dislocation, can alter the space within the carpal tunnel and put pressure on the median nerve. Similarly, arthritis can deforms the small bones in the wrist and compact the nerve.

Certain chronic illnesses, including diabetes, also increase your risk of nerve damage – including damage to your median nerve.

Studies have shown that certain thyroid disorders as well as kidney disease may also increase a person’s chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.


Individuals with smaller carpal tunnels may be more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. This is probably the reason that carpal tunnel syndrome is generally more common in women – the carpal tunnel area is typically smaller in women than in men.


Being obese is a significant risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome. Excess weight can put undue stress and pressure on the joints, including the wrist area.

Pregnancy and Menopause

Both of this very normal conditions alter the balance of body fluids. And the resultant fluid retention may increase the pressure within the carpal tunnel, irritating the median nerve.

The good news is that carpal tunnel syndrome associated with pregnancy generally resolves on its own after pregnancy.

Workplace factors

Working with vibrating tools, or performing duties that require prolonged or repetitive flexing of the wrist may put harmful pressure on the median nerve – causing or worsening nerve damage.

Several studies have demonstrated an association between typing / computer use – as well as cash register work – and carpal tunnel syndrome.

However, the risk for carpal tunnel syndrome is even greater in occupations involving heavy labor.

The following is a list of occupations published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that lists workers with the highest incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Assemblers
  • Cashiers
  • Secretaries & general office clerks
  • Laborers, non-construction
  • Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
  • Welders and cutters
  • Data-entry employees
  • Textile sewing machine operators
  • Order clerks
  • Machine operators
  • Truck drivers
  • Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers
  • Packaging and filling machine operators

West Bloomfield Area Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Doctor

If you think you may be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, contact Dr. Rehman for a comprehensive evaluation and consultation. As with most medical conditions, early detection, awareness, and a prevention or treatment plan is the most effective way to combat the effects of conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.

Dr. Rehman will assess your individual situation, and prescribe the treatments that are best for your condition.

West Bloomfield Area Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Doctor: 248.335.2638