carpal tunnel syndrome

Unfortunately, says Jonathan Oheb, MD, there’s no exercise that can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

Symptoms of CTS

  • Tingling and/or numbness in the thumb, index and third fingers, and the thumb-side of the fourth finger.
  • Pain in the wrist
  • A weakened grip

This condition is verified with an EMG: electromyography. The EMG will detect if there’s a disruption in nerve impulses running through the carpal tunnel.

I was wondering if exercises like hand grips (using hand grippers), wrist rolls with a dumbbell or barbell, or reverse curls might have a preventive effect on carpal tunnel syndrome.

Dr. Oheb is with the North Valley Orthopedic Institute, and is Chief of Orthopedic Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery; jonathanohebmd.com. I interviewed him for this article.

Dr. Oheb says, “There are no exercises that can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.”

Why can’t any certain exercises prevent carpal tunnel syndrome?

Dr. Oheb explains, “Carpal tunnel syndrome is from elevated pressure within a confined space.  Exercises will not lead to a risk reduction. These two are unrelated.”

Is there anything you can do, then, to reduce the risk of developing CTS?

  • See if you can use your keyboard off of your lap. This takes pressure off the wrists. At times your wrists are lying comfortably on your upper thighs while your fingers are using the keyboard, even though there will be times when your wrists will be disconnected from your thighs.
  • Consider using a mouse that has a track ball. This allows you to keep your hand in one spot while using the mouse, while your thumb moves the tracking ball. The rest of your hand is on the contoured, large mouse. Your fingertips control clicking.

Though there may be exercises that can make your symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome feel better, there is no known exercise that guarantees you can prevent this common condition.