The carpel tunnel is the narrow passage for the median nerve of the forearm. The median nerve pass through carpel tunnel can provide sensation to the palm, fingers (except little finger) and thumb. The signal come from the median nerve is also important for muscle contraction and relaxation present around the wrist.
Squeezing of carpel tunnel can irritate the median nerve and leads to carpal tunnel syndrome. Direct traumatic injury or activities like throwing and catching require forceful hand movement. Any action requires vibrating movement of the hands, pressure against a hard surface and forceful movement of the hand can cause carpel tunnel syndrome.
There are certain factors responsible for Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, which can indirectly aggravate median nerve damage. The included risk factors are:
- Fracture or dislocation of the wrist bone or bone degenerative condition including arthritis can narrow down the carpal tunnel and increase the pressure on the median nerve.
- Individuals having small carpel tunnel from birth can increase the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Athletes and sportsperson also have a higher risk to develop Carpel Tunnel Syndrome due to their forceful hand movement.
- Women have higher tendency to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, due to smaller tunnel area than men. Even the area of the carpal tunnel varies with person to person.
- Certain chronic underlying disease condition like hypothyroidism, obesity, diabetes mellitus, renal disease, alcoholism, rheumatoid arthritis can damage median nerve.
- Body fluid balancing differs during pregnancy and menopause, which increases the risk of fluid retention and edema related inflammatory condition narrow the carpal tunnel and increase the risk of carpel tunnel syndrome.
- Carpel Tunnel Syndrome can be a result of occupational hazards. These can include the work need repetitive and forceful hand movement like worker works in grinding industry or works as a carpenter, butchers, garment workers, packers, cashiers, elevator operators, computer operators, dentists, pneumatic tool operators and drilling machine operators.
- Certain condition like fracture of the wrist can cause narrowing of the carpel tunnel and leads to irritation of the nerves. Rheumatoid arthritis also causes inflammation of the joint and that can also influence Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.
- Obesity and increased body weight can also significantly increase the risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.
The above mentioned all the risk factors may not be caused carpal tunnel syndrome, as several studies showed that there is no uniform correlation between risk factors and the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome.