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Anything that causes irritation, inflammation, fluid retention, or an abnormal growth in or around the carpal tunnel can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, including:

  • Repetitive movements of the hands, wrists, or fingers—especially overactive use of a computer keyboard, certain musical instruments, or hand tools
  • Use of vibrating equipment or tools
  • A narrow carpal tunnel (due to heredity or other causes)
  • Wrist injury:
    • Burns
    • Broken bones
    • Compression or crush injuries
  • Arthritis leading to swelling within the carpal tunnel
  • Diabetes
  • Raynaud's disease , which impairs blood flow in the hands
  • Water retention due to:
  • Hormone-related conditions, such as:
  • Medications, such as:
    • Birth control pills
    • Cortisone pills or shots
    • Some high blood pressure drugs
  • Tumors and cysts in the carpal tunnel

References:

Carpal tunnel syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated October 8, 2012. Accessed October 23 ,2012.

Katz RT. Carpal tunnel syndrome: a practical review. Am Fam Physician . 1994;49:1371-1379, 1385-1386.

Patijn J, Vallejo R, Janssen M, et al. Carpal tunnel syndrome. Pain Pract . 2011;11(3):297-301.



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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