HealthDay News — Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and carpal tunnel release, according to a meta-analysis published in the December issue of Obesity Reviews.

Rahman Shiri, MD, PhD, MPH, from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to examine the effects of overweight and obesity on CTS. Data were included from 58 studies involving 1,379,372 individuals.

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The researchers found that the risks of CTS or carpal tunnel release were increased with overweight and obesity (pooled confounder-adjusted odds ratios, 1.47 and 2.02, respectively). The risk of CTS was increased 7.4% with each one-unit increase in body mass index. The effects of overweight and obesity were stronger on carpal tunnel release than CTS. 

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No difference was seen in associations for men and women, and the correlations were independent of study design.

“Excess body mass markedly increases the risk of CTS,” the authors write. “As the prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing globally, overweight-related CTS is expected to increase. Future studies should investigate whether a square-shaped wrist and exposure to physical workload factors potentiate the adverse effect of obesity on the median nerve.”


Shiri R, Pourmemari M, Falah-Hassani K, Viikari-Juntura E. The effect of excess body mass on the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome: a meta-analysis of 58 studies. Obes Rev. 2015;16(12):1094-1104. doi:10.1111/obr.12324.