Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ

Question:

I'm in the middle of a dispute with my work place about my carpal tunnel syndrome. I maintain that constant hours of typing and filing have resulted in this problem. They say there isn't enough evidence to support a work-related cause for CTS. Who's right?

Answer:

Requiring scientific evidence to support work-related health claims has become a central issue in the last few years. As a result, more and more studies are underway evaluating the cause of conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

According to a recent investigation, genetic factors ranked the highest as possible links to CTS. The anatomic structure of the wrist and increased body mass index (BMI) are the strongest risk factors.

There isn't enough evidence to link CTS with occupational factors such as repetitive hand use, exposure to vibration, and activities requiring high-force grip. Hand position and stressful manual work have also been investigated with similar results.

At this point in time, all evidence points to CTS as a structural, genetic, biologic problem. Environmental and occupational factors play only a minor role in this condition. Typing and computer use have not been directly linked with CTS. Santiago Lozano-Calderón, MD et al. The Quality and Strength of Evidence for Etiology: Example of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. April 2008. Vol. 33A. No. 4. Pp. 525-538.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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