. Carpal & Cubital Tunnel Syndrome | 7 Contributing Factors

7 Factors That May Contribute To Carpal & Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Pain in the wrist this is carpal tunnel syndrome

Ever wondered what is causing the tingling sensation or pain in your fingers and hands? Carpal tunnel syndrome or cubital tunnel syndrome may be the cause. These are two conditions that occur when one of the major nerves in your hand or forearm gets compressed, leading to symptoms like numbness and tingling in the fingers, pain that can travel up the arm, muscle weakness and clumsiness. If left untreated, symptoms can worsen and may even cause permanent nerve damage. 


However, the exact cause of carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome is unknown which can be baffling for the average person. What we do know is there are some factors that can put you more at risk of developing one of the two conditions. 


We will be covering the seven common factors that may contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome in this article – read on to find out more. 


1. Hereditary


Carpal tunnel syndrome is a complex condition that is usually not inherited but having a family member or relative with the condition may increase your chances of developing it. This is because anatomic differences such as a smaller carpal tunnel may run in the family, leaving little space for the nerve and resulting in compression.  


2. Repetitive hand or elbow use


Repeating the same hand and wrist or elbow movements can cause your tendons to swell, putting pressure on the nerve. Hence, this explains why carpal tunnel syndrome or cubital tunnel syndrome is common in athletes who play sports that require repetitive motions. These conditions can also develop if you hold a job, such as a plumber, that calls for leaning on your hands or elbows for a long period of time. 


3. Hand and wrist position


Activities that require constant flexion (bending a joint) and extension (straightening a joint) of your hand and wrist include typing and writing but you would be surprised that these simple tasks can increase pressure on the nerve after a prolonged period of time, contributing to carpal tunnel syndrome


Hand and Wrist Position Contributing to Cubital Tunnel Syndrome


4. Pregnancy


Dealing with changes to your body is not the only thing mothers-to-be have to worry about. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also cause fluid retention which may sometimes result in swelling in the carpal or cubital tunnel and increasing pressure on the nerve in return. 


5. Other medical conditions


Certain medical conditions may also increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. These include diabetes because when your blood sugar rises, the glucose attaches to the proteins of the tendons, causing them to become inflamed and hard to slide as they normally would. 


Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, also contributes to the condition as the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and results in inflammation that can affect the carpal tunnel of your hand. 


6. Prior injury


A traumatic injury to your hand, wrist or elbow, such as a fracture and dislocation sustained from a car accident or sports injury, can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome too. This could be due to scar tissues forming while your ligaments and tendons heal, resulting in impingement of the median nerve. Tissues can also swell when there is a direct blow and compress the ulnar nerve within the cubital tunnel


7. Bone spurs or cysts


Bone spurs or cysts that develop in the elbow joint may also result in cubital tunnel syndrome as the growth causes compression and leads to irritation of the ulnar nerve. 


Seeking treatment


Visit a Hand Doctor for Check Up


Some of these factors such as hereditary and pregnancy may be unavoidable while your job may also require you to perform tasks that involve repetitive motions on a daily basis. Thus, it is highly recommended that you look out and take note of the symptoms, and make sure you visit a hand doctor in Singapore as soon as possible.


Receiving the right diagnosis and treatment early for carpal tunnel syndrome or cubital tunnel syndrome is key to regaining your quality of life. 


Reach out to our hand specialist, Dr Jacqueline, at Advanced Hand Centre today to find out about the treatment options available for your condition.