Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway formed by the carpal (wrist) bones and ligaments. The carpal tunnel contains the median nerve and flexor tendons that bend the fingers and thumb. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a disorder characterized by tingling and pain in the hand and fingers due to compression of the median nerve in the wrist.
Ergonomic Risk Factors
Forceful exertions (e.g. lifting,
carrying, gripping, etc.)
Awkward postures (e.g. flexion,
extension, radial, and ulnar
deviations of the wrist)
Cold temperatures have been linked to the development of CTS by affecting nerve conduction, blood circulation, manual dexterity, and grip strength.
Extended vibration exposure is linked to an increased swelling of the tendon sheaths
Hand arm vibration
Whole body vibration
Similar muscle actions performed multiple times in a short period
Sustained muscle contractions without enough rest
May lead to fatigue, weakness or altered movement patterns
Many or all of the risk factors act in synergy to increase the risk of CTS
Specific Recommendations for Prevention
Avoid contact stress where possible (e.g. resting wrists on hard surfaces)
Decrease external forces
Take regular breaks
Maintain neutral hand/wrist postures
Avoid prolonged exposure to vibration
Minimize forceful grasps (e.g. pinch grips)
Monitor use of gloves that may affect force required
Evaluate handle design options
For industry/workplace specific recommendations contact an OHCOW Ergonomist.
Additional Resources and Tools
OHCOW Ergo Info Sheet: MSDs