(HealthDay News) — Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for carpal tunnel syndrome and carpal tunnel release, according to a meta-analysis published in 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 carpal tunnel syndrome. Data were included from 58 studies involving 1 379 372 individuals.

The researchers found that the risks for carpal tunnel syndrome or carpal tunnel release were increased with overweight and obesity (pooled confounder-adjusted odds ratios=1.47 and 2.02, respectively). The risk for carpal tunnel syndrome was increased 7.4% with each 1-unit increase in BMI. 

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The effects of overweight and obesity were stronger on carpal tunnel release than carpal tunnel syndrome. 

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 [carpal tunnel syndrome],” the researchers wrote. “As the prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing globally, overweight-related [carpal tunnel syndrome] 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.”


  1. Shiri R, Pourmemari MH, 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.