Repetitive motion injuries such as CTS result from performing a task or motion repeatedly without giving the body time to rest, recuperate and repair from the activity. These injuries may also be increased by awkward positions or postures, vibration, and using hands to pound or push on things.
With carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive wrist and/or finger movements out of the neutral position (the slightly upward bent position where the least amount of strain is put on the wrist) can lead to injury. The injury occurs in the carpal tunnel (the area composed of small bones and an encircling ligament at the base of the hand) (Figure 1). Flexor tendons (the tendons that generate finger movement) and/or the synovium (the lining of the carpal tunnel) become swollen and inflamed. These inflamed tendons then press against other body parts in the carpal tunnel, quite frequently against the median nerve.
The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel, conducting impulses from the brain down the arm to the thumb, forefinger, middle finger and half of the ring finger. When pressed, numbness and tingling may occur. Blood flow through the carpal tunnel may also be reduced, often resulting in cold fingers.
Symptoms of CTS
Gardening Activities associated with CTS
Factors contributing to CTS while gardening
The factors that contribute to this condition include:
Women are also more prone to develop CTS than are men. In addition, CTS can be further aggravated or negatively influenced by the following conditions:
Preventing Pain from CTS while Gardening
It is possible to enjoy gardening without pain or risk of developing CTS by using the following simple techniques:
Tool handles are available with varying designs relative to diameter, attachment angles, coatings (anti-slip), contouring (finger grips), coverings (rubber cushioning), etc., that fit individuals better. Test tools before buying.
Using these techniques, many of the activities of gardening that can cause or aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome can be avoided.