Can an Auto Accident Cause Carpal Tunnel?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is surprisingly common, with an estimated three to six percent of adults suffering from it. We’ve all met someone who complains about developing carpal tunnel after years spent typing reports all day at work or putting things together on an assembly line in a factory.

Women are three times more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than men. CTS is typically diagnosed between ages 30 and 60, and it’s often caused by repetitive motions, but that’s far from the only way to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms like pain and numbness can also arise after a traumatic incident like a car accident. Read on to find out more about how an auto accident can cause carpal tunnel.

Wrist fractures and CTS

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, carpal tunnel syndrome happens “when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist.” The carpal tunnel is home to the median nerve, which is where the name carpal tunnel syndrome comes from. For the record, the carpal tunnel is defined as “a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand.”

So what does a potential car accident have to do with that part of your body? Well, a bunch of things can happen when you’re in a collision with another vehicle, or even if you run off the road and hit a fencepost. You can get head injuries and lower body injuries. You can also get a wrist fracture, if you get thrown against the dashboard and crush your hand at an awkward angle, for instance. Unfortunately, when it comes to car accidents, most of the angles are awkward.

A wrist fracture is enough to cause swelling, and swelling can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. There’s no guarantee that it will happen, but it’s a distinct possibility whenever this part of your body is injured. It can sneak up on you just as you think you’re recovering fully from the accident. Weirdly, carpal tunnel symptoms are often first noticeable when we’re trying to sleep. That’s because a lot of people go to sleep with their wrists flexed.

Treating CTS after a car accident

If you suspect you have CTS after a car accident, you should see a doctor first to confirm the diagnosis. There are both non-surgical and surgical options available to treat carpal tunnel. You’ve likely seen people wearing a splint or sleeve in order to alleviate the symptoms and allow them to work at a computer. Such solutions may help if you developed the syndrome after a car accident, but you also may need to opt for surgery sooner than someone who developed CTS in a more traditional way.

Tracing carpal tunnel syndrome back to the accident may not be easy, but it’s still worth talking about the particulars of your case with an auto accident lawyer in Mobile, AL. If the accident was your fault, then you’re obviously not going to get very far, but if the other driver was to blame, you may be able to recover some of the medical costs associated with treating your CTS.


A personal injury lawsuit won’t be able to recover all the expenses associated with the accident. If your car was totaled, it’s usually up to you and your auto insurance to work out a plan that allows you to go to the car dealership and get another vehicle. A lawyer may also be able to help you deal with your insurance company, so it’s worth bringing that up if you’re having trouble getting straight answers when you call your auto insurance adjustor.

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