Safety Articles

Article # 10104

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a nerve disorder caused by injury of the median nerve where it passes through the wrist on its way to the forearm of the hand. CTS develops gradually over time rather than from a single incident. Repetitive wrist deviation, such as twisting and turning the wrist, increases the likelihood of developing CTS and other repetitive injuries.


Causes of CTS
• Repetitive motions of the wrist
• Excessive extension and flexion wrist movements
• Radial deviation (twisting the wrist so the thumb moves toward the wrist)
• Ulnar deviation (twisting the wrist so the small finger moves toward the wrist and the thumb points upward)
• Forceful exertions to the base of the palm
• Localized pressure
• Sustained exertions
• Awkward wrist and hand positions

Risk Factors
• Poor posture and mechanical stress
• Personal factors, such as inadequate rest, age, gender (carpal tunnel syndrome afflicts women twice as often as men), pregnancy, smoking, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis
• Psychosocial stresses, such as job factors, fear and lack of information Symptoms
• Tingling
• Aching wrists
• Numbness
• Pain and soreness in the hands and wrists

Proactive Approach
• Provide worker safety and education.
• Reduce repetition.
• Take appropriate breaks.
• Redesign workstation or area.
• Implement job rotation.
• Use a flexible wrist support to encourage neutral wrist posture and limit wrist movements to help reduce the strain and pressure associated with repetitive job tasks.
• Use a wrist rest in a computerized environment to minimize strain and pressure to the hands, wrists, and neck and shoulders
• Perform activities with joints kept as close as possible to their neutral position to prevent
• Overreaching and awkward postures.
• Avoid grasping too tightly.
• Use less force white operating keyboards, staplers or paper punchers.
• Reduce contact pressure with rounded edges, soft corners and cushioned surfaces on furniture, work surfaces or office accessories.