Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the median nerve in your wrist. A pinched median nerve makes performing everyday tasks like pouring coffee or writing a letter painful. Several factors can contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. An online search for “hand orthopedics near me” in Atlanta, GA, will yield several specialists who can help you determine your risk factors.
Occupational factors like typing and repetitive motions have long been associated with the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Occupational risks are increased when an office worker uses poor typing techniques. When you’re at the computer, your wrists should be raised slightly above the height of your keyboard. Some people will rest their wrists on their desk, forcing their hands to tilt up. Use a wrist support cushion to correct your hand placement and avoid excess strain on the joint. If you work on an assembly line, take frequent breaks and stretch your wrists and fingers without cracking or popping them. Compared to typing or repetitive movements, research suggests that using heavy machinery that vibrates regularly, has a more substantial impact on the development of an occupational carpal tunnel. Heavy machinery like jackhammers, tractors, and motorcycles are more likely to contribute to hand and wrists problems, especially with prolonged use.
Factors that are not related to the workplace include previous injuries, gender, and wrists size. If you sprained or broke your wrist or hand as a child or young adults, you’re more likely to develop carpal tunnel later in life. Women are more likely to develop carpal tunnel because they usually have smaller wrists than men. The size of the wrist affects the muscle tone and bone density. Therefore a smaller wrist may lack the musculoskeletal support needed to prevent carpal tunnel due to everyday use.
While these factors can contribute to the symptoms of carpal tunnel, research suggests that they’re not necessarily the primary cause of the syndrome. In many cases, patients are predisposed to developing the condition because of genetics or specific medical conditions. For example, patients who are overweight or diabetic are more likely to develop carpal tunnel. Hormonal changes in women who are pregnant or post-menopausal can also experience carpal tunnel because increased fluid retention put more pressure on joints in the wrists and feet. Hypothyroidism, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis have also been linked to increased chances of carpal tunnel syndrome.
A hand and wrists specialist in Atlanta, GA, can help you determine which factors apply to you and how to reduce your risks.