Socioeconomic deprivation and the epidemiology of carpal tunnel syndrome

J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2012 Feb;37(2):123-9. doi: 10.1177/1753193411419952. Epub 2011 Sep 15.


Deprivation has been recognized as a major determinant of health and is associated with several musculoskeletal conditions. This study examines the effect of deprivation on the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome using a regional prospective audit database. Over a 6 year period there were 1564 patients diagnosed with CTS with an annual incidence of 72/100,000 population. There was a significant difference in population incidence of CTS from the most deprived (81/100,000) to the least deprived (62/100,000) (p = 0.003). Functional impairment was higher in the most deprived group compared with the least (DASH 56 vs 48, p = 0.001). The most deprived group exhibited the greatest exposure to occupation vibration (42.7%), and had the greatest risk of bilateral disease (OR = 2.33, p < 0.001). We report an association between socioeconomic deprivation and carpal tunnel syndrome, with the disease being more likely to be bilateral and have a poorer DASH score in the most deprived patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • United Kingdom
  • Vibration / adverse effects
  • Young Adult