Carpal tunnel syndrome in sports: an often-overlooked problem




Athletes are often overlooked carpal tunnel syndrome patients. We commonly see this wrist pathology in hairdressers, bloggers, or software programmers. But what about gym-goers and other athletes?

As you will see in this article, sportspeople should also prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. We're also leaving some advice if you're an athlete experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.


Cycling, e-sports, and adaptive sports

Cyclists and adaptive sports athletes are probably the most affected by carpal tunnel syndrome. It is also common in golfers, tennis players, and the new and revolutionary e-sports.

Each one has a different cause, as you can see next:

  • Cyclists: They sometimes adopt a poor position in the bike with insufficient support on the handlebars. Using steep body angles during competitions and training for a prolonged time would also have this effect (1).

  • Adaptive sports: Repetitive hand movements to move rapidly on a wheelchair can lead to wrist damage. The risk is higher in people with some overweight and those who train for prolonged periods (2).

  • Tennis, golf players, and other athletes: There's significant wrist compression when athletes are holding a racket, club, or paddle. The same happens when the hand hits a ball or when the body holds considerable weight. This compression leads to overuse lesions in the wrist (3).

  • E-sport players: In E-sports, carpal tunnel syndrome has a similar cause than programmers or bloggers. They often put their wrists under significant stress, even when they use comfortable gaming chair. Heavy mouse use and low mouse sensitivity settings can be risk factors for them (4).

What happens in carpal tunnel syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is a small passageway that surrounds and protects hand tendons and the median nerve. It's called carpal tunnel because the sides and the floor are limited by small bones known as carpal bones.

This tunnel is very small but has enough room to accommodate tendons and the median nerve. When it is narrowed further, the median nerve is compressed, and we start feeling numbness, tingling, and sometimes significant pain in the affected hand.


Non-invasive treatment options

Surgery is sometimes the best option for severe cases. However, most patients improve their symptoms with non-invasive treatment. One of the most popular is using splints or wrist supports. Steroid shots are another alternative, but most people prefer oral anti-inflammatories, which are not as effective.


Protecting your wrist using REGLO gloves creates mechanical torque on the metacarpal bones that modify the carpal tunnel's available space. The median nerve is then free from compression, and the patient obtains quick relief from their symptoms. It may also work to slow down disease progression and prevent compression in healthy gym-goers and other athletes.


One of the most common side effects of wrist support for carpal tunnel syndrome is muscle atrophy. But the best thing about REGLO gloves is that they won't restrict hand mobility in any way. Athletes can use them and protect their wrists without affecting their performance. Plus, they look stylish and sporty. That's why REGLO gloves are an excellent solution if you want to prevent or treat carpal tunnel syndrome as an athlete.




References:

  • Sousa, D., & Sassul, N. (2017). Carpal tunnel syndrome in cyclists. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, 5(1_suppl), 2325967117S00004.

  • Do Kyun Kim, B. S. K., Kim, M. J., Kim, K. H., Park, B. K., & Kim, D. H. (2017). Electrophysiologic and ultrasonographic assessment of carpal tunnel syndrome in wheelchair basketball athletes. Annals of rehabilitation medicine, 41(1), 58.

  • Fulcher, S. M., Kiefhaber, T. R., & Stern, P. J. (1998). Upper-extremity tendinitis and overuse syndromes in the athlete. Clinics in sports medicine, 17(3), 433-448.

  • Ivanova, V. (2020). Carpal Tunnel syndrome symptoms in Esports players.

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