Is carpal tunnel hereditary?
If an elder member of your family has Carpal Tunnel, you may be wondering “I am at a higher risk of getting Carpal Tunnel pain as well?”. This article aims to give you the facts about the Syndrome, and answer the common question: Is Carpal Tunnel hereditary?
There is evidence that there may indeed be some genetic factors involved in developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In fact, at the 2007 74th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in San Diego, study researcher David Ring, MD, an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, announced that “”The major risk factor for carpal tunnel is genetic.”
Hereditary conditions that increase your chances of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome(CTS)
One reason that may cause Carpal Tunnel to be a hereditary syndrome, is an abnormality in the genes that distribute myelin, a substance that insulates nerve fibers.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome happens when the median nerve is trapped in The Carpal Tunnel. This results in damage to the myelin sheaths, that surround the nerve fibers.
So, without the correct distribution of myelin, the numbness and pain you feel from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may be amplified, as a result of hereditary complications.
Type II diabetes
Type II diabetes is a genetic condition. Although the conclusive link between diabetes and CTS has still to be identified, researchers believe that the high blood glucose levels related with Type II diabetes, cause the tendons to become glycosylated, inflaming the tendons and acting as a type of glue to restrict their movement.
Research has shown that approximately 20 percent of people with diabetes will get CTS.
But the symbiotic relationship works both ways. Researches from King’s College in London, conducted a study in 2006, looking at 2,655 patients who developed diabetes. They found that people had been diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, were 36% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes later on in life.
The American College of Rheumatology estimates that 1.3 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis.
One study reported that first-degree relatives of a person with rheumatoid arthritis are three times more likely to develop the condition than first-degree relatives of people who don’t have RA. This means that parents, siblings, and children are at an increased risk.
The correlation between CTS and arthritis is as follows. Overtime, damage caused by arthritis can lead to structural compression of the median nerve and other structures in the wrist. In this instance, pain and problems with mobility become more frequent, and carpal tunnel syndrome can take hold. Unlike short-term instances of discomfort, actual damage can be much more difficult to treat.
The traditional treatment for CTS on patients with rheumatoid arthritis also comes with a lower success rate. The main reason being that arthritic soft tissue generates significantly more scar tissue. Therefore Carpal Tunnel Surgery has a reduced chance of elevating pain.
Smaller Carpal Tunnel Space
Inheriting a smaller than normal Carpal Tunnel can lead to a higher incidence of the onset of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This often does run in family genetic lines.
How can I be sure that my Carpal Tunnel pain is hereditary?
Carpal Tunnel in younger people often has a genetic component and therefore can be considered the most likely cause of a hereditary issue.
An article published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, discovered that within three generation of one family, four patients were found to have carpal tunnel.
If you are concerned that members of your family have had some of the health issues listed above, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of severe Carpal Tunnel Pain.