What causes carpal tunnel?

Carpal tunnel is caused by repetitive motions that put pressure on the median nerve in your hand.

These can include:

  • Overuse of the wrist
  • Poor positioning of the wrist during work tasks for extended amounts of time
  • Wrist injury
  • Fluid retention that causes buildup in the tissues of your wrists


It can also be aggravated by pre-existing medical conditions that may increase the likelihood of carpal tunnel developing. These include:

  • Diabetes and other metabolic disorders
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • High blood pressure
  • Autoimmune disorders

Studies suggest that women are three times more likely than men to develop CTS.

Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

An orthopedic specialist may diagnose carpal tunnel in several ways. If you are experiencing potential symptoms of CTS and are looking for a diagnosis, consider scheduling a consultation with a medical professional who specializes in carpal tunnel treatment. Orthopedists, especially those who specialize in the hands or wrists, excel at diagnosing and treating carpal tunnel syndrome.

A diagnostic evaluation may include:

  • Physical examination: Your doctor can perform tests to see if you may have carpal tunnel. They can also rule out underlying issues that may mimic carpal tunnel symptoms.
  • X-Ray: Images of the wrist to determine if fractures or other conditions may be irritating nerves or causing CTS-like symptoms.
  • Ultrasound: Ultrasonic images of the wrist to determine the state of the median nerve.
  • Electromyogram and Nerve Conduction Study: Evaluate electrical impulse in the nerve roots to ascertain how muscles and nerves are functioning together.

Treatment for Carpal Tunnel

Receiving proper treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome can be vital to limiting future damage and maintaining mobility in your hand and wrist. Depending on what causes carpal tunnel for you, you may need to make life or work adjustments, as well as receive care for the injury.

Preventative Treatment

Preventative treatment for carpal tunnel will involve strengthening the ligaments and tendons in your wrist to better prepare them to sustain pressure. For remote workers, this can affect work habits and may require adjustment for those who have a more sedentary lifestyle.

Preventative measures include:

  • Stretching exercises
  • Maintaining correct wrist posture while working
  • Taking frequent breaks while working from home
  • Maintaining an ergonomic workstation

Non-Surgical Treatment

Conservative treatment for CTS involves isolating the wrist so that repetitive motion cannot further harm the median nerve. This may be achieved via a brace or splint.
Other non-surgical solutions include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Icing the wrist
  • Steroids to reduce swelling
  • Environmental adjustments to reduce the risk of repetitive motion
  • Workplace adjustments of keyboard, chair and chair armrests

Surgical Treatment

Carpal tunnel release is a well-known surgery that involves cutting the ligament around the wrist to limit pressure on the median nerve. There are two variations of this procedure:

Open-release surgery: Involves opening the wrist and severing the ligament that forms the basis for the carpal tunnel.
Endoscopic surgery: Involves smaller incisions. A miniature camera is used to assist the surgery.

You should discuss which surgical options may be right for you with your doctor. Recovery from surgical treatment for CTS can take months and will require modified work habits for remote workers. Pain, stiffness, and a lack of strength in your grip are all common side effects of this treatment. Physical therapy may be advised at the discretion of your orthopedic physician.

Get Comprehensive Care for CTS and Other Wrist and Hand Conditions at Centennial Orthopedics

Are you experiencing frequent wrist pain and want answers? Centennial Orthopedics in Roseburg can help. We provide comprehensive care solutions for carpal tunnel and related hand or wrist injuries. Our specialists use cutting-edge tools to accurately diagnose all types of orthopedic conditions so that you can get the support and care you need. Contact us today at (541) 229-2663 to schedule an appointment.