Carpal tunnel is a small passage through which flexor tendons and media nerve pass. Carpal tunnel syndrome is mainly caused due to entrapment of median nerve by various factors. Inflammation of tendons or any other factor compressing median nerve can result in carpal tunnel syndrome.
The most common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is excessive typing or usage of hands for repetitive tasks like hammering and moving objects. Let us try to understand different causes of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Causes Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Repetitive Stress Injury
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of many repetitive stress injuries. More than 50% of carpal tunnel syndrome cases are connected with repetitive stress caused as a consequence of overuse of hands. Typing for long periods of time without rest can result in tendinitis. Inflamed tendons can entrap median nerve causing carpal tunnel syndrome as a consequence. Repetitive stress injuries cause inflammation of surrounding structures of median nerve near carpal tunnel. This type of injury is very common in people working as musicians, carpenters, and mechanics.
Median Nerve Entrapment
Median nerve is a long nerve that passes from neck through shoulder and up to fingers. Median nerve entrapment is known as the main cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, primary factors that cause carpal tunnel syndrome are unknown.
As stated above, median nerve can be entrapped due to tendinitis or inflammation of nearby structures. Any kind of inflammatory response by body near the carpal tunnel can cause this syndrome. Entrapment of median nerve can occur due to disease conditions as well.
Fractures Causing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Certain types of fractures are known to cause carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Distal radius fracture is one such fracture which can result in carpal tunnel syndrome. In fact, CTS was discovered as a consequence of distal radius fracture. However, degree and severity of distal radius fracture play a critical role in the severity of carpal tunnel syndrome. Other complications of wrist injuries include infection and arthritis. All of these affect median nerve resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome.
Disease Conditions and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There are various disease conditions which are linked with carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of them include hypothyroidism, obesity, and diabetes. Any disease which affects the median nerve and entraps it in the carpal tunnel can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Diseases like myeloma and sarcoidosis can result in accumulation of foreign substances around carpal tunnel region. This results in inflammatory change around carpal tunnel causing CTS. Diabetic neuropathy has also been linked with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Arthritis Causing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Arthritis of hands is one of the primary causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. Different kinds of arthritis like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are linked with carpal tunnel syndrome. Arthritis can cause changes in the structure of tendons resulting in median nerve entrapment. Abnormal calcifications or other kinds of growth near carpal tunnel significantly affect the passage of median nerve. Arthritis is a common complication of distal radius fracture and is a leading cause of CTS.
Carpal tunnel syndrome results from median nerve entrapment. It can cause numbness, tingling, and moderate to severe pain.