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Health Information Center

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This can be caused by the carpal tunnel having:
  • Irritation
  • Swelling
  • Fluid build up
  • A growth in or around it
Common ways that can happen are:
  • Moving the hands, wrists, or fingers, the same way over and over, such as:
    • Typing on a computer
    • Playing some musical instruments
    • Using hand tools
  • Using tools that vibrate
  • Breaking or hurting the wrist
  • Having a narrow carpal tunnel (being born with one or for other reasons)
  • Having tumors or cysts in the carpal tunnel
  • Some health issues can cause swelling or fluid build up:
    • Arthritis
    • Diabetes
    • Kidney or heart disease
    • Pregnancy
    • Thyroid problems


  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. American Society for Surgery of the Hand website. Available at: https://www.assh.org/handcare/condition/carpal-tunnel-syndrome. Accessed May 2, 2022.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/carpal-tunnel-syndrome. Accessed May 2, 2022.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/patient-caregiver-education/fact-sheets/carpal-tunnel-syndrome-fact-sheet. Accessed May 2, 2022.


  • James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.