Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause pain and aggravation and even get in the way of your ability to work and earn a living. How do you evaluate your risk for carpal tunnel? And what can you to do be proactive about this common, but challenging, condition?
Risk Factors for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the nerves of the wrists and hands. There are more than 3 million cases of this condition reported per year in the U.S. alone. Symptoms typically include pain and numbness in the wrist and hand, but the condition can be treated with proper care by an orthopedic hand specialist. If you’re concerned that you may develop carpal tunnel due to your work, keep in mind that it’s not only typing that can aggravate your risk. Here are some of the risk factors that come into play:
- Work. Excessive typing certainly plays a factor, but so does other manual work, including meat or seafood packing, as well as performing as a working musician. If your job includes the same repetitive hand movements over and over, you may want to consider physical therapy to address hand, finger, and wrist pain to avoid having occasional pain turn into full on carpal tunnel.
- Sex. According to a growing body of scientific evidence, women are more at risk of developing carpal tunnel. This has to due with the makeup of bone structure in the had and wrist area. In addition, hormonal fluctuations that lead to changes in the amount of fluid present in the hand may also contribute. When women experience pregnancy and menopause, the resulting hormone and fluid changes can lead to an onset of carpal tunnel.
- Lack of Fitness. Obesity is a contributing factor to carpal tunnel as extra weight puts more pressure on the bones, joints and nerves. Some studies suggest that obesity plays a greater role in people under the age of 63, though advanced age is a separate risk factor for carpal tunnel as well.
A Proactive Approach to Avoiding Carpal Tunnel
While there’s not much one can do about the hormonal fluctuations of their biological sex, workers who use their hands excessively can try physical therapy or other light stretching techniques to reduce the wear and tear on the joints and nerve systems of their hands and wrists.
For more information on how to mitigate your risk factors for carpal tunnel, reach out to Southern Orthopedic Specialists today!Return to Blog