A family history of carpal tunnel syndrome has been reported recently at the European Neurological Society meeting in Paris. 200 patients were included in the study with suspected carpal tunnel syndrome who were referred for electrodiagnostic tests.
Electrodiagnostic confirmation of carpal tunnel syndrome was confirmed in 70% of the 200 patients.
A family history of carpal tunnel syndrome was confirmed by electrodiagnostic testing of relatives in 65% of cases. Overall it was demonstrated that 17% of patients with carpal tunnel syndrome had a family history of the condition that could not be explained by other associated diseases which can cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
A prior study had demonstrated a positive family history in 27% of 421 cases of confirmed carpal tunnel syndrome independent of other predisposing family illnesses
It has long been suspected in our practice that there was a family relationship in carpal tunnel syndrome. Predisposing conditions, for example hypothyroidism, can cause an increase in carpal tunnel and must be considered and excluded when trying to relate this condition to a purely genetic predisposition.
While we have never in our practice tried to establish this as family related, we have been aware of a family history in many cases and, therefore, these studies are a confirmation of what we have suspected from our own experience over the 30+ years in practice.
The incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome in men has always been known to be lower than in women.