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How Pregnancy or Diabetes Can Cause Carpal Tunnel

Your carpal tunnel is a passageway in your wrist that’s surrounded by tendons and bones. The median nerve travels through the carpal tunnel, and it’s this nerve that’s responsible for the feelings and sensations in your hand.

Overuse and strain can cause your carpal tunnel to narrow and put pressure on the median nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that can bring pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness in the hand.

Anyone can get carpal tunnel syndrome, but having certain conditions may put you at an increased risk of developing it. Two of these conditions are pregnancy and diabetes. In this blog, the health specialists at Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine discuss the link and how carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated.

Pregnancy and carpal tunnel syndrome

If you’re pregnant, you know that pregnancy affects more than just your growing belly. Pregnancy causes changes throughout the body, and carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition associated with it.

In fact, one study estimates that up to 62% of pregnant women have carpal tunnel syndrome. Many women who develop carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy usually begin noticing tingling and numbness in the third trimester, but it can develop as early as the first trimester.

When you’re pregnant, your body holds additional fluids, and it’s not uncommon to experience increased swelling. This swelling can put pressure on the median nerve in your carpal tunnels, producing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Women who work at computers or perform other repetitive hand motions might be at an increased risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome, particularly during pregnancy. Furthermore, if you find that you’re less active during the final weeks of your pregnancy, this can slow circulation and contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Getting carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy doesn’t mean you’ll always have it. Managing carpal tunnel symptoms during pregnancy can help you control the condition, and once you have your baby and the swelling in your body goes down, it may go away.

Diabetes and carpal tunnel syndrome

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic condition that affects 30 million Americans. It often brings related health issues, and one of those is carpal tunnel syndrome. Up to 20% of people who have diabetes also have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel symptoms often develop over time. While it’s not completely clear why people with diabetes are at a higher risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome, the two conditions share similar risk factors, such as being overweight, older, or female. Both diabetes and carpal tunnel syndrome can also have hereditary links.

If you have diabetes and you’re experiencing numbness or tingling, it’s important to get a professional diagnosis to rule out diabetic neuropathy. Both diabetic neuropathy and carpal tunnel syndrome involve nerves, but they’re different conditions that require different treatments.

Treating carpal tunnel syndrome

Whatever the cause of your carpal tunnel syndrome, our team can diagnose your condition and work with you to find effective treatments. Wearing a brace that keeps your wrists supported and taking anti-inflammatory medication can often relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Our team might also recommend modifications in how you take part in your daily activities. For more severe cases, steroid injections can offer relief from carpal tunnel pain.

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome and want to learn more about treating the condition, book an appointment online or over the phone with Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine today.

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