What to Avoid With Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a prevalent condition that significantly impacts daily life, affecting approximately 3% of women and 2% of men at some point. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The symptoms, which include numbness, tingling, weakness, or muscle damage in the hand and fingers, can be debilitating. Carpal tunnel syndrome is particularly common in occupations requiring repetitive hand motions or activities that involve prolonged wrist bending.

While medical interventions such as wrist splints, anti-inflammatory drugs, and surgery are effective treatments, managing daily activities to prevent symptom exacerbation is equally important. Here’s what to avoid and how to modify activities to reduce the strain on your wrists.

Repetitive Activities

Engaging in repetitive hand motions is one of the primary exacerbators of carpal tunnel syndrome. These activities include texting, typing, knitting, or using hand tools that require constant wrist movement. Here’s how these activities impact CTS:

To manage these risks, it’s advisable to limit the duration of repetitive tasks, use ergonomic tools designed to reduce strain, take frequent breaks, and perform stretching exercises to relax the tendons and muscles involved.

Holding Items Too Tight

A common yet overlooked issue is the excessive force used to grip or hold objects, which can aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome. This excessive grip force can occur during everyday tasks such as writing, driving, or cooking. To mitigate these effects:

Reducing grip intensity and using ergonomically designed tools can significantly lower the risk of exacerbating carpal tunnel syndrome.

Typing at the Wrong Angle

Incorrect hand and wrist positioning while typing is a significant risk factor for developing or worsening carpal tunnel syndrome. When wrists are bent up or down or twisted side to side, it increases the pressure inside the carpal tunnel, aggravating the median nerve. To prevent this:

Adapting your workspace to support a neutral wrist position can prevent the onset of symptoms and aid in managing existing carpal tunnel issues.

Working Through Numbness or Pain

Ignoring symptoms like numbness, tingling, or pain while continuing to engage in activities that stress the wrist and hand can lead to more severe nerve damage. Here are steps to manage these symptoms effectively:

Listening to your body and responding to the early signs of discomfort are crucial steps in managing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Managing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Adopting lifestyle changes and therapeutic practices can significantly alleviate the symptoms of CTS:

Incorporating these practices not only helps in managing the condition but also improves overall hand and wrist health.

While carpal tunnel syndrome can significantly affect your daily activities and quality of life, understanding and adjusting your lifestyle can greatly alleviate symptoms and improve your well-being. If you’re experiencing persistent hand or wrist pain, consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. Knight at The Hand and Wrist Institute. Dr. Knight specializes in diagnosing and treating wrist conditions, offering personalized treatment plans that can help you return to a comfortable, active life. Don’t let carpal tunnel syndrome hold you back—take action today and regain your hand health.

Dr. John Knight
Dr. John Knight

Dr. Knight is a renowned hand, wrist and upper extremity surgeon with over 25 years of experience. Dr. Knight is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Fellowship trained. Dr Knight has appeared on CNN, The Doctors TV, Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Oxygen network and more.