Can injuries cause carpal tunnel syndrome?

Certain injuries that affect the hand or wrist can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Any type of injury that causes swelling in the wrist can put pressure on the median nerve and lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Fracturing or breaking the wrist is a particularly common injury that leads to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Dr. Prosper A. Benhaim, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon

Injuries can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. This can occur through several mechanisms. There can be direct trauma to the carpal tunnel area, resulting in bruising and swelling around the nerve, which can cause a compression of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel. Similarly, trauma to nearby structures can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, people with wrist fractures, compartment syndrome, burns and other forms of trauma can have enough swelling in the local area that it can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. This is to be distinguished from penetrating trauma, such as a knife injury or laceration, which can cause direct damage to the median nerve. This would be different than carpal tunnel syndrome, which implies compression on the nerve. A direct injury to the nerve with a knife or gunshot wound can lead to transection of the nerve, which would require surgery to repair the nerve.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.