Carpal tunnel syndrome: Is keyboard use a possible cause?

Fact Checked

The use of keyboards has been the topic of debate on the possibility of triggering the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Many individuals who have the condition might blame the keyboard but whether it is the actual cause is an issue of debate.

Most believe that work activities can lead to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Even though many make this connection, it is not proven in most studies conducted that the condition is caused by repetitive activities at work.

Compressed carpal tunnel

When it comes to carpal tunnel syndrome, it develops once the median nerve which is one of the biggest nerves in the wrist is compressed as it travels via the constricted carpal tunnel.

Carpal tunnel syndrome
Once the nerve could not function correctly, the individual can experience the usual symptoms of carpal tunnel including tingling sensation, pain and numbness.

It is important to note that the carpal tunnel is shaped by the small-sized wrist bones on the base and a constricted ligament on the top. In case pressure accumulates in the carpal tunnel, the nerve is compressed and starts to function erratically. Once the nerve could not function correctly, the individual can experience the usual symptoms of carpal tunnel including tingling sensation, pain and numbness.

The pressure is augmented during certain wrist positions. One of the tests used to assess for carpal tunnel syndrome is Phalen’s test which involves forceful bending of the wrist to increase the pressure in the tunnel to check if symptoms occur. In the same way, the reason why many complain of the symptoms at night is that they sleep with the wrist folded beneath the body.

Repetitive use

Certain work-related activities can trigger similar effects of brief increases in the pressure in the carpal tunnel. Incorrectly designed work areas can cause the individual to hold the wrist in a position that can irritate the nerve, thus triggering the symptoms. The use of a splint or redesigning the work area can minimize the symptoms.

Nevertheless, constant use is not clearly shown to trigger the condition based on several studies conducted. In most investigations performed, it pointed out that occupation can be a risk factor for the condition particularly those that involve the use of vibrating heavy machinery, not using keyboards.

Cause and effect

Even though most research has cleared out that typing with a keyboard and other work-related activities do not trigger the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, there is a possibility that these activities can worsen the condition.

It is important to note that it is possible that certain activities can make the individual aware of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, but it does not necessarily trigger the condition.

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