Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Anything that causes irritation, swelling, fluid buildup, or a growth in or around the carpal tunnel can cause this syndrome. Common causes are:

  • Repetitive movements of the hands, wrists, or fingers, such as with a computer keyboard, certain musical instruments, or hand tools
  • Use of vibrating tools
  • Wrist fracture or dislocation
  • A narrow carpal tunnel (due to heredity or other causes)
  • Arthritis swelling
  • Diabetes
  • Water buildup from:
  • Hormone-related conditions, such as pregnancy or thyroid problems
  • Tumors and cysts in the carpal tunnel


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Clinical Practice Guideline on the Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. AAOS 2016 Feb.
Carpal tunnel syndrome. American Society for Surgery of the Hand website. Available at: Published 2015. Accessed November 20, 2019.
Carpal tunnel syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated June 24, 2019. Accessed November 20, 2019.
Carpal tunnel syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated August 13, 2019. Accessed November 20, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD